Becknell Industrial, which partnered with Norfolk Southern to develop the transportation company’s Westlake Industrial Park, intends to build an almost 186,000-square-foot speculative warehouse.
Daniel Fogarty Jr., senior vice president of Lyons, Illinois-based Becknell Industrial, said Guy and Seda Preston with Colliers International Northeast Florida will serve as the marketing agents.
“We are marketing the park to all industrial clients in need of a new BTS (build-to-suit) facility,” Fogarty said.
He said Becknell expects to close by June 1 on the purchase of its first parcel, about 18 acres, and start construction immediately on the spec building. The shell construction will be delivered by year-end.
The St. Johns River Water Management District is reviewing plans for the proposed Westlake warehouse at Pritchard Road and Cisco Drive West.
England-Thims & Miller Inc. is the consulting engineer.
The property is owned by Atlanta-based Westlake Land Management Inc., part of Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern.
Fogarty said Becknell, based near Chicago, reached an agreement with Norfolk Southern about two years ago.
The 3,000-acre Westlake Industrial Park, in far west Jacksonville includes road and utility infrastructure and wetlands. About 1,300 acres remain available for commercial industrial development, he said.
Westlake Industrial Park is along Pritchard Road west of Interstate 295. It is west of Westside Industrial Park.
It is anchored by Southeast Toyota Distributors LLC, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Georgia-Pacific, among other users.
Fogarty said the buildings in the park are fully leased.
“Our planned speculative facility will represent the only available space for lease within Westlake,” Fogarty said.
It is designed for one or two industrial tenants, such as manufacturers and distributors.
Fogarty said Guy Preston brought together Becknell and Norfolk Southern after several years of marketing the property on behalf of the transportation company.
“He believed the park needed a national developer in order to attract users for BTS,” Fogarty said.
He said Preston “wanted a developer that would recognize the strong fundamentals of the Jacksonville market and capitalize on them by launching a speculative project, which in turn would draw more attention and tenants to Westlake.”
Norfolk Southern owns and manages thousands of acres of real estate across 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Ontario, Canada.
Becknell isn’t the only developer planning a speculative industrial development in Westlake or in Jacksonville.
Among the eight other projects that have surfaced, Johnson Development Associates Inc. of Spartanburg, South Carolina, proposes the 232,488-square-foot Westlake II project at 9779 Pritchard Road. Adkinson Engineering Inc. is the civil engineer.
Pattillo Industrial Real Estate is developing a 272,480-square-foot speculative warehouse at Westside Industrial Park.
In Imeson International Industrial Park in North Jacksonville, the city is reviewing site plans for Industrial Park Investments Inc. of Orlando to develop a 140,790-square-foot speculative distribution center on 10.99 acres at 10531 Busch Drive N.
Fogarty said the fundamentals for development are excellent in Jacksonville.
“Demand for warehouse space is outpacing available supply. There are very few Class A, modern industrial facilities available to serve many prospects currently in need of such space,” he said.
Fogarty said such facilities offer higher warehouse ceilings, more loading docks and more auto and truck trailer parking.
The region is experiencing population and job growth, which pushes the consumption of goods and services steadily higher.
“Companies need more warehouse space to both assemble and deliver goods to the growing local population,” Fogarty said.
“This will serve to drive more and more new industrial construction in Jacksonville, which I believe will persist for the next several years in the region,” he said.
With the new building, Becknell will be adding to its Jacksonville portfolio that includes three warehouses in north and west Jacksonville, including one at Westlake.
Becknellindustrial.com shows the company’s three area properties comprise a 240,000-square-foot structure leased to Samsonite at 10089 N. Main St.; a 35,154-square-foot warehouse leased to Harte-Hanks at 1333 Tradeport Drive; and a 240,000-square-foot warehouse leased to Suddath Global Logistics in Westlake at 11001 Pritchard Road.