The Jacksonville City Council will consider property tax incentives Aug. 23 for two companies investing a combined $202.5 million in separate cold-storage facilities in North Jacksonville.
Third-party logistics company Arcadia Cold Jacksonville LLC plans to lease and invest $86.5 million in a refrigerated distribution facility to be built in Imeson International Industrial Park, according to a draft redevelopment agreement and July 6 project summary from the city Office of Economic Development.
Office Executive Director Kirk Wendland told the Council Finance Committee on Aug. 16 the company will lease the cold-storage space from the building owner and Arcadia affiliate Saxum Real Estate.
The second project was detailed in a July 20 city summary. New Jersey-based cold-storage and transportation services company FreezPak Logistics will lease a $116 million warehouse at 8730 Somers Road.
The Council Finance Committee voted 7-0 on each bill to advance the property tax refund packages:
• Resolution 2022-0617 would provide a five-year, 50% property tax refund, or Recapture Enhanced Value Grant, to Arcadia capped at $2 million. In exchange, the company says the facility would create 60 jobs at an average annual wage of $50,500 plus benefits by Dec. 31, 2027.
• Resolution 2022-0618 would authorize a REV grant capped at $3 million to FreezPak parent company BGFP Jacksonville LLC. The company told city officials its cold-storage and distribution facility would have at least 80 employees by year-end 2026.
FreezPak would pay an average annual wage of $56,000 plus benefits, the city summary says.
Wendland said the projects are the latest cold-storage distribution warehouses to locate in Jacksonville over the past several years.
“Post-pandemic, refrigerated cold-storage food seems to be really growing in a lot of areas,” Wendland told the Finance Committee.
“Fortunately, we’ve forever said Jacksonville has one of the great locations for logistics and distribution, and I think the world is believing that and agreeing with us.”
The full Council likely will take final votes on the legislation Aug. 23.
Saxum Real Estate applied for a building permit Aug. 5 to construct a 334,022-square-foot food storage/distribution freezer facility on 32.37 acres at 250 Busch Drive E., No. 1, at a cost of $60.77 million. Primus Builders Inc. of Woodstock, Georgia, is the contractor.
The permit application says about a third of the facility will be a shell space for a future tenant, meaning two-thirds, or about 222,459 square feet, would be for an initial user.
An application and plans filed July 5 with the St. Johns River Water Management District shows Saxum Real Estate plans to develop the project at North Main Street and Van Dyck Road inside Imeson International Industrial Park.
Arcadia’s draft redevelopment agreement with the city says it will lease approximately 216,963 square feet of space.
The building will have 32 loading docks, 62 trailer storage spaces and 109 parking spaces.
To qualify for the incentives, Arcadia promised the city an $86.5 million capital investment.
The city summary says the company will spend $84 million in real estate improvements and $2.5 million in machinery/equipment, furniture and fixtures over the next two years.
Arcadia will receive nothing from the city if capital investment drops below $65 million.
The city expects a $4.41 return on every $1 of public investment in the project, although Wendland’s office is asking Council to waive a provision in the city’s public investment policy to grant the incentives.
The $50,500 average salary does not meet the city public investment policy requirement that wages attached to the property tax incentive match or exceed the state average wage of $55,422.
“Due to the desire to reduce the current unemployment level in north Jacksonville, and the fact that these are full time jobs with benefits and the significant level of capital investment, we are requesting a waiver of the wage level requirement,” the summary says.
Saxum is a vertically integrated investment and development firm with a portfolio of more than 2.6 million square feet of cold-storage development. It has offices in Austin, Texas, and Summit, New Jersey.
Its development pipeline totals more than $700 million in project capitalization across multifamily, student housing, cold storage and industrial asset classes.
It formed Jacksonville Imeson PropCo LLC in November 2021 for the North Jacksonville project.
FreezPak is considering an $83 million investment in real estate and $33 million in machinery and equipment at the proposed facility in the next two years, the city summary says.
Economic development officials expect the city to receive $3.70 for every $1 invested in the project.
The private capital investment would need to be at least $100 million and FreezPak would create at least 80 jobs by year-end 2026.
FreezPak would pay an average annual wage of $56,000, plus benefits.
The resolution will not require a public investment policy waiver.
According to Wendland, the FreezPak site is where Philadelphia-based BG Capital proposes a $101.2 million development on Somers Road.
BG Capital paid $11.175 million on July 15 for 20.5 acres to develop the 272,400-square-foot Jacksonville Cold Storage at 8730 Somers Road, near the JaxPort Talleyrand and Dames Point marine terminals.
BGFP Jacksonville LLC bought the property from Somers Road Jacksonville Propco LLC, which is InLight Real Estate Partners of Ponte Vedra Beach. BGFP could refer to BG Capital and FreezPak.
“The site is now in the planning phase of a Build-to-Suit redevelopment to convert the site into a 272,400 SF state of the art Industrial Cold Storage Facility,” says BGCAP.com. Build-to-suit means the project is being built to the specifications of a tenant.
Prosser Inc. is the civil engineer.
BG Capital says it has more than 18 projects completed and more than $300 million in projects under development.
The company developed an industrial project for FreezPak in Philadelphia.
FreezPak has five other locations comprising four in New Jersey and one in Philadelphia. The company has 18 million cubic feet of storage space in its portfolio, according to its website.
Editor Karen Brune Mathis contributed to this report.