North Signal Capital LLC is joining the Jacksonville warehouse wave with construction of the Imeson Commerce Center in North Jacksonville.
The city issued a permit Oct. 20 for Evans General Contractors LLC of Alpharetta, Georgia, to build a 422,136-square-foot shell warehouse on about 45 acres at 1000 Imeson Park Blvd.
The construction cost of the speculative project is $25.7 million.
The city issued a permit Sept. 1 for site work including horizontal development, grading, paving and underground utilities.
North Signal said the construction team will be led by Evans General Contractors and include England-Thims & Miller Inc. of Jacksonville as the civil engineer; LS3P Associates Ltd. of Charleston, South Carolina, as the architect; and OMNI Partners of Charleston, South Carolina, and Charlottesville, Virginia, as project developer and manager.
The project is being developed as industrial vacancy rates fall to 3.3% and below in Northeast Florida.
North Signal Capital, based in Stamford, Connecticut, said in May it would develop the $38.5 million Imeson Commerce Center.
Property specifications show four spaces of 99,300 to 120,035 square feet of space.
“A lot of what’s happening in Jacksonville is driven by robust population growth and that will mean rooftops and households that have the need for industrial support,” said North Signal Partner Peter Goulding in May.
He said the site, south along Imeson Park Boulevard, east of Interstate 95 and North Main Street, is well located relative to the JaxPort terminals, Jacksonville International Airport and the interstate system, specifically I-95.
He said the project would be delivered for tenant build-out in August 2023.
North Signal has developed or is developing nearly 6 million square feet of space in Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Jacksonville.
“Jacksonville is another Southeast port that offers basically a higher return on investment for tenants,” Goulding said.
“They can operate with a greater efficiency and a lower cost of doing business as opposed to the higher cost of doing business in places like northern New Jersey and New York and in Southern California,” he said.
North Signal paid $3.86 million for the land March 30.
Through Imeson Property LLC, North Signal bought the site from Imeson Investments Inc. of Freeport, Bahamas. Vice President Wallace K. Groves signed the deed.
Synovus Bank of Columbus, Georgia, issued a mortgage the same day to Imeson Property LLC for $25 million.
Goulding and CJ Carey founded North Signal Capital.
It is described as “a real estate investment and development firm that develops and acquires functional, flexible and strategically located distribution and manufacturing facilities in the Southeastern US.”
North Signal Capital LLC says at northsignalcapital.com that it has offices in Stamford, Connecticut and Charleston.
Goulding said its business model is to build multitenant long-term reusable buildings, although it can lease to single large tenants.
“We are more aimed at the 100,000-square-foot tenant,” he said.
“We just think those kinds of tenants are not the focus for many of the larger national developers,” he said, who prefer to build 1 million-square-foot projects for large tenants like Amazon and The Home Depot.
Goulding said the market is underserved for tenants needing 30,000 to 150,000 square feet.
He said North Signal has found that e-commerce is taking a larger share of the retail market.
He said population growth means more households need goods that must be brought into the market.
Retailers and wholesalers lease warehouse space to distribute it.
Goulding said that the warehouse shortage is expected for at least several years.
North Signal announced Sept. 14 that it started construction on the Imeson Park Boulevard building after creating a joint venture with Fox Capital Partners and buying the land in March.
The JLL real estate firm is the listing agent for the landlord. Senior Managing Director Luke Pope and Vice President Ross Crabtree lead the team.
Pope said in the September news release that North Signal expects to address Class A space requirements between 80,000 and 150,000 square feet.
“These industrial needs are in particularly short supply across Jacksonville,” he said.
Imeson Investments has been selling pieces of its property in Imeson International Industrial Park, at northeast Zoo Parkway and Main Street.
Duval County property records show Imeson Investments owned about 248 acres bordered by Zoo Parkway, Gun Club Road, Busch Drive North and Imeson Park Boulevard. It wraps around a pond.