The local commercial real estate community is talking about a mystery firm’s plans to develop a one million-square-foot distribution/warehouse center in the St. Johns Water Management District, ever since the Jacksonville Business Journal first reported on the project.
According to the publication, a permit application has been filed at the beginning of the month for two centers, one encompassing 600,000 square feet, and the other 400,000. The two would rise on a 102-acre site located at the intersection of Normandy Boulevard and 103rd Street and runs along Alcoy Road.
The City of Jacksonville, the landowner, applied for the permits on behalf of Hillwood Investment Properties. There have been rumors that FedEx Ground Shipping or Amazon.com could be the anchor tenants of the proposed facility, but no official announcements have been made yet.
CBRE Research has revealed that the Jacksonville industrial market experienced a great start to the year, with positive indicators of recovery. The first quarter 2013 closed with a vacancy rate of 10.8 percent. The overall vacancy rate is the lowest it’s been since 2009. In 2007, at the market’s height, there were more than 4.5 million square feet of industrial projects underway. Very few developments have been delivered to the market since the recession, mostly due to high vacancy rates and economic uncertainty.
Currently, in addition to the warehouse/distribution center, there are 22 buildings proposed in the Northside, Westside and Southside submarkets. These developments could add up to 4.3 million square feet of space to the market. Yet developers seem to be awaiting a further decline in vacancy rates to break ground on the projects, as there is currently no construction underway in the Jacksonville industrial market.
Chart courtesy of CBRE