Hillwood among five groups including Becknell Industrial planning 1 million-square-foot warehouses

Sep 12, 2019

Hillwood, which is developing AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center, is one of five groups making plans for Jacksonville distribution centers of more than 1 million square feet.

Hillwood, the city’s master developer at Cecil, previously filed plans for a 1.5 million-square-foot center at POW-MIA Memorial Parkway, 103rd Street, Aviation Avenue and Cecil Pines Street.

Hillwood Senior Vice President Dan Tatsch said the building remains a “concept only” and there are no immediate plans to build it.

Among the other projects, Becknell Industrial proposes to apply for a building permit by the end of September for a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center at 13522 Pritchard Road in Westlake Industrial Park.

Becknell submitted clearing and grading plans Tuesday for the site.

Executive Vice President Dan Fogarty said recently there are at least two corporate prospects that are “very serious about large bulk buildings in Jacksonville.”

Among other projects in review, VanTrust Real Estate LLC has a 1.1 million-square-foot building proposed in Imeson Park in North Jacksonville.

VanTrust Executive Vice President John Carey said previously no tenant has been signed and the development timing has not been determined.

Pattillo Industrial Real Estate sought entitlements for a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution warehouse in NorthPoint Industrial Park in North Jacksonville.

Pattillo Vice President Peter Anderson said it wants to be prepared so the company can start construction on a build-to-suit tenant or a speculative building.

Benderson Development Co. filed plans that show a 1.54 million-square-foot building along Pecan Park Road in North Jacksonville. It has not responded to requests for comment.

“At the macro level, I’m sure Jacksonville’s low vacancy rate and low supply (of large blocks of modern distribution space) played a role in spurring the developments,” Tatsch said by email.

The industrial vacancy rate among distribution facilities in Jacksonville is below 5 percent.

Tatsch said he also suspects that each developer has a reason for kicking off development.

With five warehouses of more than a 1 million square feet proposed, “from a developer’s perspective, I’m not sure if that’s a cause for celebration or concern. Time will tell, as it always does,” Tatsch said.

Two prospects that have surfaced as prospective large tenants are Lowe’s Companies Inc. and Walmart. Neither has confirmed looking at the city.

Tatsch said he had no comment about market rumors.

The three most recent warehouses of about 1 million square feet that opened or are under construction are two Amazon.com centers and a Wayfair Inc. fulfillment facility.