An almost 160-acre industrial and commerce park is in review for the Wildlight community at northeast Interstate 95 and Florida A1A in Nassau County.
“Extensive market studies show there is a substantial need for new industrial space,” said developer Rodney Jones, citing a low industrial vacancy rate for Nassau County.
Jones said the site is near the interstate highway system, area ports and Georgia as well as the Jacksonville metropolitan area.
“We are also attracted to the Wildlight development itself,” he said of the 2,900-acre residential, commercial, office and industrial center in progress by Raydient Places + Properties LLC.
“We think it’s going to be an anchor in northern metro Jacksonville that will do well,” he said of his group’s unnamed project.
The NAI Hallmark quarterly real estate market report found that Nassau County’s industrial vacancy rate ended the first quarter at 0.2% while the Northeast Florida average was 2.7%, considered a tight market.
Jones is a manager of STLJAX Partners LLC of St. Louis.
STLJAX and Wildlight property owner Raydient LLC seek St. Johns Water Management District review for the Yulee project.
Plans show three phases as well as a parcel for a fire station at northwest U.S. 17 and Florida A1A.
Plans show five industrial parcels, two commercial parcels, the fire station site, roadways, utilities and sidewalks and three stormwater management facilities.
Jones said that pending entitlement approvals, his group intended to buy the property by early next year and start development.
He said Tom Jones, no relation, is the group's Jacksonville partner and has “extensive experience” in Northeast Florida.
“He is our partner in the project and the one that brought us the transaction, and we have a lot of confidence in his experience in regard to industrial users,” Rodney Jones said.
“He's our guy on the ground there and he knows the market well,” he said.
Rodney Jones hopes to start construction by the first quarter with site clearing and grubbing and installation of utilities and streets.
His group is talking with potential users. “Nothing firm is in place because we didn’t want to go down that road until our entitlements are completed,” Jones said
His group intends to develop the commercial parcels in the front with small shops and restaurants and put in the infrastructure for the remaining property so that it is pad-ready for users next year.
Jones said the group would develop structures for lease to tenants or sell land to a buyer that wants to own a building.
He intends to start with a 250,000- to 300,000-square-foot speculative industrial building.
Jones said 1.2 million square feet of industrial space is entitled, as well as 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of commercial space.
He said the group would work with an unidentified development partner that has completed “many millions of square feet of industrial space.”
A parcel designated for a fire station is not part of the STLJAX property.
The permit application shows construction of the master infrastructure for an industrial commerce park. England-Thims & Miller Inc. is the civil engineer.
Jones declined to provide the investment estimate in the project.
STLJAX Partners LLC is affiliated with Quadrant Properties and JPL Development.
Jones founded and is a partner in Quadrant Properties and is a principal with JPL Development, a multifamily developer.
Quadrant Properties is a development company led by three partners with offices in St. Louis and Denver.
According to its website, Quadrant Properties has worked on retail-anchored centers, residential entitlements, urban land assemblage, value creation through rezoning and public financing, joint ventures related to the development of power centers, environmental remediation and apartment acquisition and redevelopment.
Jones said it has developed shopping centers, multifamily projects and industrial properties.
Raydient is a subsidiary of Wildlight-based Rayonier Inc.
“This has been part of the Wildlight master plan since its inception,” said Alejandro Barbero, Rayonier director of strategic development and communications.
He said the land was under contract to the Jones group.
Wildlight is part of the East Nassau Community Planning Area, a state-approved plan adopted in July 2011.
It is a master plan for landowner Rayonier's 24,000 acres of timberland in east Nassau County.