With its land sale and incentives deal approved, Cosentino Group plans to break ground in January 2025 on the $270 million first phase of a project to build a manufacturing facility at Cecil Commerce Center.
The Spanish sustainable surfaces company has an end-of-year 2028 target to complete the first phase, a news release May 24 from the Jacksonville Port Authority said on behalf of Cosentino.
“In the 78 years that our family has been in the surfacing business, this is one of our greatest milestones yet,” Cosentino Americas CEO and Executive Vice President of Global Sales Eduardo Cosentino said in the release.
The multiphase project could grow to a $440 million manufacturing facility.
Following the $270 million first phase, a second phase would be a capital investment of $70 million.
The company will also have the option to buy another 150 acres to build a minimum $100 million addition to the project.
Incentives deal approved
On May 23, Jacksonville City Council unanimously approved a 330-acre land sale and incentives package for Cosentino Group’s plans to build a multiphase manufacturing facility. The city owns Cecil Commerce Center.
Council voted 17-0 on two bills related to the Cosentino proposal formerly referred to by city officials as code-named Project Raptor Stone. Council member Danny Becton and President Terrance Freeman were absent for the vote.
Ordinance 2023-0310 approved the $20.5 million land sale, a $12 million property tax incentive and $5.5 million in debt spending to pay for a $3 million Logistics Land Road extension at Cecil and pay $2.5 million for JEA to make sewer and water infrastructure improvements at the site.
Ordinance 2023-0311 appropriated $5.5 million awarded by the state in November from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to put toward a CSX Corp. rail line extension at the business park.
The legislation appropriates $2.5 million from the city’s general fund for the city’s portion of the rail extension to support Cosentino’s operation.
The bills were approved as one-cycle emergencies.
After the votes May 23, Council member Aaron Bowman, who is senior vice president of business development at JAXUSA Partnership, said Cosentino reached out to the city about the project before the coronavirus pandemic nearly three years ago.
JAXUSA is the economic development division of JAX Chamber.
“That land has been vacant, waiting for somebody like this for 25 years. The rail was deactivated when the Navy left. The state stepped up to reactivate the rail,” Bowman said.
About Cosentino, he said: “This is their first step outside of Spain and working the six-hour time changes, the translations, the customs. ... This was just an amazing process.”
Sustainable surfaces manufacturer
Cosentino describes itself as a family-owned company that produces sustainable surfaces for kitchens, bathrooms, living and outdoor spaces and other architectural projects.
Its brands include Silestone, Dekton, Sensa and Scalea. Uses include quartz countertops, facades and flooring.
The West Jacksonville site would expand Cosentino’s manufacturing to North America, its first facility beyond its Industrial Park in Almería, Spain, and natural stone factory in Vitoria, Brazil.
“The North American market has come to represent more than half of our global sales since we established a foothold here in 1997, and has played a pivotal role in positioning our brand at the forefront of the industry,” Eduardo Cosentino said in the May 24 release.
“This endeavor is part of our long-term vision and has been in development for many years. We’re confident the new manufacturing facility will propel further growth for years to come.”
Creating 180 jobs
The incentives agreement says Cosentino will create 180 jobs at Cecil by the end of 2028.
City Office of Economic Development Executive Director Kirk Wendland said in April that if the Cosentino deal happens, the city would have about 120 acres left of the 745-acre megasite southwest of Interstate 10 and Cecil Commerce Parkway in Cecil Commerce Center, a former naval air station.
About 600 acres of the megasite can be developed, according to the city.
The city owns the industrial park property and Dallas-based Hillwood is the master developer of what is AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.
The city’s summary of the Cosentino project says the initial phase of the project would be a 408,000-square-foot facility with another 734,000 square feet for adjacent support areas and two production lines.
The city would sell the future 150-acre option parcel to the company at 75% of the appraised value at the date of the purchase.
“We have been strategic in how we’ve marketed this valuable piece of industrial real estate to attract a world-class manufacturer of which there would be mutual benefit. We found the ideal manufacturer in Cosentino,” JAXUSA President Aundra Wallace said in the release.
“This is a major win for Cecil Commerce Center and a collaborative effort. We thank all of our partners, from the city and state to JEA and JaxPort, for coming to the table and making this important deal happen for our community.”
Since taking control of Cecil Commerce Center in 1999, the city has been recruiting companies to fill 4,475 acres of the 17,000-acre site.
The development plan envisioned a limited number of companies filling the megasite.
“It’s always been held out for either one large or a couple of extremely large users,” Wendland said in April. “So, we proposed this site many times over the years but for various reasons, the projects have never come to fruition.”