Zion Jacksonville LLC sold North Jacksonville property Nov. 28 to a company affiliated with DHL Supply Chain, backing earlier speculation that the logistics company is the city’s “Project Empire.”
RES Jacksonville I LLC of Westerville, Ohio, paid $10.26 million for the undeveloped industrial land along Kraft Road. It bought the site from Bronx, New York-based Zion.
The Ohio address for RES Jacksonville is that of DHL Supply Chain.
The site is part of 892 acres owned by Zion, but the deed does not specify how much acreage RES bought.
Project Empire matches the description of DHL, which is part of Germany-based Deutsche Post DHL Group.
DHL Group is an international logistics services company. The group generated more than $101.9 billion in sales 2022.
City Council approved a resolution Sept. 26 for the city to execute a $1.5 million Recapture Enhanced Value Grant for the unidentified Project Empire, “a major international logistics and distribution company,” to build a facility at Kraft and Eastport roads in North Jacksonville.
The 400,000-square-foot, $64 million project is described as a center to provide logistics and distribution services throughout the Southeast U.S.
The economic development agreement said it will be completed by Dec. 31, 2025, and create 100 full-time jobs by Dec. 31, 2026.
Empire’s 100 full-time employees will include logisticians, warehouse receiving and shipping personnel.
DHL has not responded to requests for comment.
DHL has roots in the U.S.
Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn in San Francisco founded the company in 1969.
DHL, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Post in 2002, has four divisions:
• Supply Chain for contract logistics, providing warehousing, managed transport and value-added services.
• Express, the most commonly associated with the brand, for international courier, parcel and express mail services.
• eCommerce for international parcel delivery for business customers and consumers and e-commerce logistics and facilitation services.
• Global Forwarding and Freight for air, ocean, rail and road for larger-scale freight logistics.
Comparing DPDHL.com, which is the site for DHL Group, and the city project summary and legislative fact sheet:
• Project Empire is described as “a major international logistics and distribution company.” DHL Group calls itself the world’s leading logistics company.
• Project Empire has 400,000 employees worldwide. DHL has 395,000 employees worldwide.
• Project Empire has “a significant presence in Florida, with similar operations in other neighboring states and around the world.” DHL Express has 18 locations in Florida, including a “ServicePoint” at Jacksonville International Tradeport, and more in the Southeast U.S. It operates in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
• DHL Supply Chain’s U.S. headquarters is in Westerville, Ohio. A new distribution center there, anticipated to open in the second quarter of 2024, brings DHL’s total footprint to about 15 million square feet in Ohio and more than 161 million square feet in North America.
DHL Supply Chain has been posting jobs for a Jacksonville distribution center and uses the address of 1511 Zoo Parkway, Building 200, a new warehouse completed in Imeson Park South that will be used as the Primark Distribution Center.
That could indicate DHL is operating that site for Primark and is unrelated to the Project Empire project.
The Jacksonville jobs there include general manager II of distribution; inventory control manager II; operations supervisor; operations manager; HR representative; and senior operational business analyst.
Those jobs were posted from Oct. 2 through Dec. 3.