St. Johns County to vote on incentives for Publix central pharmacy filling center

The Lakeland-based supermarket chain requests a $5.8 million grant for the $145 million project.


Publix Super Markets Inc. wants to open a central pharmacy filling center in St. Johns County.
Publix Super Markets Inc. wants to open a central pharmacy filling center in St. Johns County.
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Publix Super Markets Inc. wants to open a central pharmacy filling center – and it wants to do so in St. Johns County.

The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to vote Feb. 6 on an economic development incentive grant rebate for Publix, initially identified as “Project Krew,” to operate a pharmaceutical preparation manufacturing facility.

The commission is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. at the county auditorium at 500 San Sebastian View. 

The Lakeland-based supermarket chain proposes to create a $145 million project at a 168,480-square-foot building it bought in January at 200 Accolade Ave. in Legend Point Logistics Crossing.

Publix would create 115 jobs by year-end 2026 and expand to a workforce of 400 by the end of 2034.

It would occupy the building by the end of 2026.

Filling up 1 million scripts per week

The proposed “Central Fill” pharmaceutical manufacturing operation will help fill up to 500,000 scripts per week and reach 1 million at maturity of the operation.

It will assemble made-to-order prescription packages that are dispensed at Publix pharmacies. The process includes receiving raw materials that are unpacked and processed into a salable form, says the grant application.

The proposed Publix Super Markets central pharmacy filling center in a 68,480-square-foot building at 200 Accolade Ave. in Legend Point Logistics Crossing.

“Not only will this facility allow us to continue to keep up with the growing demand for much needed prescription medication, but will allow our in-store pharmacies to become a ‘concierge’ that is able to direct our customers to the services they need,” the application says.

It says that will allow Publix’s staff to spend time to provide immunizations, general health screenings, educate patients and local prescribers, help identify financial assistance programs for customers, and provide additional health care services more efficiently.

It calls the project “a vital part of Publix’s current pharmacy operation.”

Publix would make an investment of $6 million in real property for the land, $22 million in real property for the building, $29 million in other taxable improvements and $88 million in new tangible assets.

$5.82 million incentive

The legislation shows the multiyear incentive is $5,821,779 with the first grant payment during fiscal 2028. 

The annual installments would be about $646,864 for up to nine years.

The grant would reimburse up to 100% of the general county portion of ad valorem taxes on capital improvements for those nine years. It would also reimburse the taxes on new tangible personal property.

The project requested incentives to operate an advanced manufacturing facility in a “large-scale industrial building” in St. Johns County.

An Economic Development Incentive Request says the project fits the targeted job sectors of large-scale advanced manufacturing and life sciences.

The economic development agreement says the salary range will be $32,000 to $136,000 annually for positions that include pharmacists, technicians, specialists and support staff. 

The grant application says the “career opportunity .... can also not be overlooked” for St. Johns County residents. 

“Publix provides stable employment opportunities with competitive pay and benefits, including our ESOP that is provided at no cost to our associates.”

The employee stock ownership plan allows associates to buy stock in Publix.

Corporate.publix.com explains that Publix is a privately held company. Purchasing shares of Publix stock is an exclusive benefit of eligible Publix associates and members of the Publix board of directors. 

Publix associates are eligible to purchase Publix stock after one year of continuous employment. 

The grant request said Publix was considering other locations, including Duval County and Georgia, and requested confidentiality during the incentives process.

“This project allows for location flexibility given Publix’s strong distribution network and source of supply maneuverability,” says the application.

It also says there are discussions with the state about potential incentives.

In addition to jobs and benefits, the project would increase the county’s stock of high-tech capital, such as robotics equipment, and high-skilled labor.

The agenda includes a vote on a motion to adopt a resolution for the county administration to execute an economic development agreement with Publix. 

The request is updated from a previous one that comprised fewer jobs, investment and incentives.

The property purchase

Publix Super Markets Inc. paid $27.75 million for the distribution center,  according to a deed recorded Jan. 10 with the St. Johns County Clerk of Court.

It bought the property Jan. 9 from SP Legend Point 1 LLC, which is led by Scannell Properties of Indianapolis.

SP Legend Point 1 LLC owned 10.63 acres at 200 Accolade Ave. in Saint Johns, according to the St. Johns County Property Appraiser.

It built a 168,480-square-foot warehouse, Building 1, on the site in 2023. The appraiser says the building value is $25.8 million.

The property is within Legend Point Logistics Crossing, which is designed to be a five-building industrial park comprising 845,000 square feet of space.

The site is northwest U.S. 1 North and Country Road 210 West. The site is east of Interstate 95.

Cushman & Wakefield Managing Directors Tyler Newman and Jacob Horsley represent the property owner in leasing efforts.

 

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