The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an economic incentives package June 6 related to the expansion of KeHE Distributors LLC’s operations in the county.
The company, headquartered in Naperville, Illinois, is a distributor of natural and organic, specialty and fresh products to more than 30,000 natural food stores, chain and independent grocery stores, e-commerce retailers and other specialty products retailers throughout North America, according to KeHE’s website.
The company has occupied a 241,626-square-foot facility at 4055 Deerpark Blvd. since 2008. The proposed project would more than double KeHE’s footprint in St. Johns County.
KeHE proposes to operate a food distribution facility in a 526,471-square-foot industrial building it will develop on Deerpark Boulevard near Interstate 95 and Florida 207 in Elkton.
The project will retain 345 jobs and add 100 jobs at the county average wage of about $52,000 and provide benefits such as an employee stock ownership plan.
The estimated value of the economic development incentive, a grant over two years beginning in 2027, is $1,341,410.
In addition, St. Johns County will use funds derived from impact fees to provide financial support for the design and construction of traffic control measures at the intersection of Florida 207 and Deerpark Boulevard to the extent that the required traffic study indicates that parties other than KeHE generate a need for traffic control measures, not to exceed $1 million.
The investment by KeHE for the project is $85.5 million, comprising property acquisition, capital improvements and tangible personal property, according to the staff report presented to the board.
Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2023 and be completed in August 2024.
With the approval, the board instructs the St. Johns County Attorney to draft an economic development grant agreement to be considered at a future meeting.