City Council unanimously approved a Recapture Enhanced Value Grant up to $3.5 million for code-named Project Willow.
The recipient of the property tax refund is a locally established regional food retailer that wishes to expand its distribution support operations to accommodate continued growth to serve customers in the Southeastern U.S., according to documents filed by the city Office of Economic Development.
The company proposing Project Willow is not named in the ordinance, but details of the project are similar to a new warehouse being considered by Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets Inc. at its distribution center in West Jacksonville.
JEA issued a service availability letter Aug. 28 for Publix to build a 400,000-square-foot warehouse for frozen foods storage on 37.15 acres along General Avenue.
Publix owns 128.68 acres between Interstate 10 and West Beaver Street. General Avenue runs by the complex.
Publix began developing the site in 1971. Buildings were added since then and now total more than 950,000 square feet.
The addition will increase that to 1.35 million square feet.
The expansion outlined in the ordinance includes construction of a 300,000-square-foot cold-storage facility with a capital investment of about $150 million for construction and equipment.
The company will maintain its current level of jobs and add 150 jobs with a $7.5 million annual payroll combined with “offering substantial benefits” by Dec. 31, 2026.
A report presented with the proposal by the Council Auditor’s Office indicates the project has a calculated return on investment of $4.17 for each $1 invested by the city.