Merritt Properties cut the ribbon Feb. 16 at Imeson Landing Business Park in North Jacksonville.
The Baltimore, Maryland-based developer has completed the first phase of three buildings totaling 137,800 square feet, which Merritt Properties LLC asset manager Patrick Franklin said is 70% leased.
Merritt bought the more than 24 acres in November 2021.
“Jacksonville is Merritt’s future,” he said. “The runway for growth is substantial.”
Merritt completed the shells of Buildings 100, 200 and 300.
Franklin said Merritt hoped to start the second phase of Buildings 400 and 500, totaling 128,400 square feet, in March to create a total of 266,200 square feet of space, all designed for smaller tenants.
Imeson Landing Business Park, at 1250 Imeson Park Blvd., will comprise five flexible and light industrial buildings from 39,000 to almost 69,000 square feet in size.
Tenant spaces start at 3,000 square feet. So far, tenants are in the range of 6,000 to 10,000 square feet, Franklin said.
Franklin said Merritt Properties, which is 56 years old, has more than 21 million square feet of space in Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
It came to Jacksonville in late 2021 with the Imeson land purchase and the acquisition of Magnolia Park, a three-building flex-light industrial park at 5220 Shad Road in Duval County.
Merritt bought 16 acres in Clay County last year and intends to buy 16 acres across the street from Imeson Landing Business Park, which is at northwest Zoo Parkway and Imeson Park Boulevard.
Franklin said Merritt intended to build a similar project on the added acreage. Plans in review for the nearby project call it Imeson Landing South.
“We don’t have this product,” said Aaron Bowman, JAXUSA Partnership senior vice president of business development. JAXUSA is the business development division of JAX Chamber.
Bowman also is a City Council member representing District 3 in South Jacksonville.
“We’re real good at building 200,000- and 300,000-square-foot buildings and maybe demising it to 60,000, 70,000 square feet,” Bowman said.
“But for the small, emerging businesses ... to get 3,000 to 6,000 square feet, the options are just not there. And especially when you look at Class A industrial space, which this adds.”
Bowman said the location, the quality of construction and the access to labor, “everything about this is Class A.”
“Thank you for bringing this into the market.”
ARCO Design/Build is the contractor. The leasing team is JLL Managing Director Luke Pope and Vice President Ross Crabtree.
Florida Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella said she commended Merritt Properties “for making this move and investing here in Northeast Florida.”
“Small businesses do not have a place to call home in many markets, especially growing markets like this,” said DiBella, who also is president and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., a public-private partnership of business and government leaders.
She said 99.8% of all businesses in Florida are small.
“We need more of this. We need footprints that allow for industry to not only situate themselves but then grow ... through our support.”