In the News | Two 1 Million-Square-Foot Spec Warehouses Signal ‘Relentless’ Demand

Article by Karen Brune Mathis, Editor | Jax Daily Record

Two speculative 1 million-square-foot warehouses are breaking ground in Jacksonville, signaling that large e-commerce or other distribution centers are circling Northeast Florida.

The city issued a permit April 21 for Evans General Contractors to build the 1,000,400-square-foot Building 8 at Florida Gateway Logistics Park in West Jacksonville at a cost of $34.31 million.

In North Jacksonville, the city is reviewing civil engineering plans for the 1,003,200-square-foot Building E warehouse in Imeson Park South.

England, Thims & Miller Inc. of Jacksonville is the civil engineer for both business parks.

The JLL real estate company, also known as Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., represents both developments.

The JLL real estate company reported in its first-quarter 2022 research report on the industrial market that the year started strong, “with record levels of new construction.”

Florida Gateway Logistics Park in West Jacksonville
Florida Gateway Logistics Park in West Jacksonville

It said more than 6 million square feet of industrial and warehouse space is under development, “with two parks, Imeson Park South and Florida Gateway Logistics, accounting for over half of the square footage.”

JLL said that both multi-building parks include a structure exceeding 1 million square feet, “highlighting the unprecedented demand for industrial space in Jacksonville.”

Industrial vacancy rates have fallen below 4%, an historically tight rate meaning that prospective tenants quickly lease what is available.

It also means that companies needing space quickly may not find it, triggering speculative construction.

JLL said demand is “relentless.”

Florida Gateway Logistics Park

At Florida Gateway Logistics Park, the city issued permits this week for the first phase of three buildings totaling 1.72 million square feet of space at 9909 Pritchard Road, west of Interstate 295.

Permits issued April 18 allow Evans General Contractors to build two warehouses totaling more than 720,000 square feet and the third approved April 20 is for 1 million square feet.

In March, the city permitted the foundation construction for the three structures – Buildings 200, 300 and 800 – at $1.18 million.

The site plan for the 3.2 million-square-foot, eight-building Gateway Logistics Park

Counting the construction and foundations, site clearing and electrical work, the costs total $67 million.

JPMorgan Chase financed the first phase at $71.825 million.

The next phases will add more space. The remaining five buildings range from 250,200 to 416,000 square feet.

California-based CT Realty in partnership with Diamond Realty Investments LLC bought 251 acres to develop the more than $300 million, 3.2 million-square-foot, eight-building industrial park.

It bought the vacant land April 29, 2021, for $19.5 million. 

The first phase is 164 acres. 

JLL Senior Managing Director Luke Pope said Feb. 21 the first three buildings will be completed about the first quarter of 2023. 

Imeson Park South

At Imeson Park South in North Jacksonville, VanTrust Real Estate announced April 19 it broke ground on three industrial buildings totaling more than 1.75 million square feet of space.

VanTrust said the project at 1511 Zoo Parkway, also called Heckscher Drive, comprises a 200,000-square-foot build-to-suit building and two speculative buildings. Potential uses include warehouse, distribution center and other industrial uses.

The speculative 1 million-square-foot building is on about 63 acres. The other spec building is 547,200 square feet on about 33 acres. 

Marc Munago, executive vice president at VanTrust, said April 21 that the company does not have a tenant for the spec warehouse.

“We have had interest and are confident there is a market for this size building,” he said.

The site plan for Imeson Park South in North Jacksonville.

VanTrust purchased the 196-acre Imeson Park South property in October 2021 for $22.83 million.

“The continued momentum at Imeson Park South for more distribution facility capacity underscores Jacksonville’s rapid growth in the industrial and e-commerce sectors,” Munago said in a news release. 

He said the property offers access to the airport, port and highway system, “making it a prime location for major U.S. manufacturers and distributors. This is only the beginning of our vision for Imeson Park.”

A mass grading permit was issued Feb. 22 for about 136.6 acres.

Construction is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2023.

VanTrust said the master plan for Imeson Park South includes up to six buildings that total more than 2.5 million square feet of space.

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