Around the State- Northeast- Aug. 2002
Development in and around Jacksonville is sprinting ahead.
By Herb Drill
Development activity -- both residential and commercial -- is booming in northeast Florida. Developers point to job growth as the reason. Jacksonville-area employers, they say, expect to create a seasonally adjusted 11,000-plus jobs for all of 2002 -- up 24% from 2001.
"Tremendous growth," says Hutson Land Co. President Don Hinson, whose OakLeaf Plantation, with 11,000-plus residential units, is planned for the Duval/Clay County line.
In Jacksonville, TriLegacy Group is developing the 44-acre, multimillion-dollar Shipyards near Alltel Stadium, with condos from $395,000 to $1 million, apartments, offices, shops and a hotel.
LandMar Group has five residential/commercial projects under way, with homes from $150,000 to $1.2 million: South Hampton in St. Johns County; Hampton Park in Duval; North Hampton in Nassau County; LandMark in Jacksonville Beach; and Belfort in Jacksonville's Southpoint.
In St. Johns County, DR Horton recently paid $39 million for the remaining 1,300 parcels at Julington Creek Plantation, where 6,400 homes -- priced from $125,000 to $200,000 -- are planned.
And Davidson Development Inc./Hillman Properties is developing World Golf Village in St. Johns County. WGV is approved for 7,200 residential units for the entire development. Schools and convenience to Jacksonville/St. Augustine put WGV in the "perfect location," says Davidson Realty President Sherry Davidson.
Also in St. Johns, Palencia will have 2,000 homes from $250,000, apartments and condominiums near the Duval line west of the Intracoastal Waterway. Developer Hines Interest Partnership says Palencia will have stores, office space, a school, a town center and a golf course.
Charlene Perez Ferren, president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, says Jacksonville is becoming "more multicultural, cosmopolitan. We have low taxes and affordable property values, with a good mix" of industries and employment. And with an average tax bill of $3,484 -- property, income and sales taxes -- Jacksonville was next to the lowest in the Locke Foundation's "By the Numbers 2000" study of tax burdens at the 50-largest metropolitan areas.
IN THE NEWS
Alachua County -- The Florida Institute for Workforce Innovation received a $1-million U.S. Department of Labor grant to expand employment services for the disabled in Alachua/Bradford counties.
Jacksonville -- The Bloomfield, Conn., aerospace unit of Jacksonville-based Kaman Corp. (Nasdaq-KAMNA) received a $35-million contract from Boeing Co.'s Commercial Airplane Group to assemble parts for 747, 757, 767 and 777 jetliners.
BMW announced plans to build a 136,000-sq.-ft. parts distribution center at Jacksonville's Westside Industrial Park, bringing 50 jobs.
MPS Group's (NYSE-MPS) Modis International unit has opened an office in Frankfurt, Germany, to supply information technology and engineering support, especially staffing solutions, in the finance, aerospace, telecommunications and electronics industries. Modis has offices in Paris, Rome, Madrid and London.
Cincinnati-based uniform rental manufacturer Cintas Corp. will build a $7-million facility at Jacksonville International Tradeport. It already has a 7,000-sq.-ft. sales/delivery office in Southside. The 60,280-sq.-ft. facility will create 60 jobs paying an average wage of $31,200. The company received a $370,000 Economic Development Commission infrastructure grant.
Irvine, Calif.-based Basis100, which develops and provides technology, products and services to the financial industry, vices to the financial industry, plans to move its headquarters to Jacksonville. The company is opening its Southside offices with 30 employees. Plans call for another 120 to 170 employees in two to three years.
The Jacksonville Port Authority received $2.13 million in Airport Improvement Program grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation for infrastructure at Cecil Commerce Center, a former airfield being converted into a business center.
TNT Logistics North America has provided limited logistics services to BMW's Spartanburg, S.C., plant since 1993, but a new contract puts TNT in control of all plant logistical systems. With 260 Jacksonville employees, TNT expects to add 20 more, primarily in computer programming/software design.
The Davis family (Winn-Dixie Stores' founding family), which donated land for the Mayo Clinic, wants to designate another 242 acres nearby for compatible uses. The family's Estuary Corp. manages the Southside land and is working with Parc Group, which wants the city and state to designate the property to complement Mayo.
Deerfield Beach-based JM Family Enterprises plans to open subsidiary Southeast Toyota Distributors, a $53-million vehicle-processing center in the Westlake Industrial Park, in October. More than half of JM's 400 employees now working at the Jacksonville port will relocate to Westlake.
Marion County -- April was the second consecutive month of growth in housing activity, with permits for single-family homes up 4.7% from March, which gained 4.3% from February. In the first quarter, permits climbed 40.4% from the 2001 period.
Nassau County -- D.R. Kenyon & Son, of Bridgewater, N.J., is starting a new company, Florida Machine, at the Yulee International Tradeplex near State Road A1A. The company will fabricate structural steel and sheet metal and perform machine shop work in a 35,100-sq.-ft. facility. Initially, 19 jobs will be created paying an average of $39,908 -- 50% higher than the county average.
St. Augustine -- Flagler College placed second of 100-plus teams in the 2002 Student in Free Enterprise USA National Championship. Some of the CEO judges later approached students about jobs. Teams were judged on how well they taught others free enterprise principles and tools for success.
A Blow to Term Limits
JACKSONVILLE -- The Florida Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Duval County's voter-approved term limits law is unconstitutional. The law prevented Clerk of Courts Henry Cook from seeking re-election in 2000 and may invalidate limits on the sheriff, property appraiser, elections supervisor and tax collector. Sheriff Nat Glover says "citizens were under the impression it was (only) a two-term deal."