By: Mike Mendenhall
The city may sell 330 acres of the Cecil Commerce Center megasite in West Jacksonville for about $20.52 million to the Spanish sustainable surfaces company Cosentino Group for what could grow to a $440 million manufacturing facility.
The initial phase of the project comprises an estimated investment of $270 million. A second phase would be a capital investment of $70 million.
The company will also have the option to buy another 150 acres to build a minimum $100 million addition to the project.
Documents released April 21 from the city Office of Economic Development show the company would be a primary user of a planned rail line extension into the mega-site that would be partially funded by a $5.5 million transportation grant from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund.
It matches the description of the code-named Project Raptor Stone referenced in a November 2022 JEA service availability request and included in a St. Johns River Water Management District permit issued March. 22.
The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee is scheduled to vote April 24 on whether to file legislation with City Council to approve the economic development agreement and land sale.
The bill would allow the city to execute a development agreement with the global manufacturer’s U.S.-arm, Cosentino Industrial USA LLC, that includes a 50%, 10-year Recapture Enhanced Value Grant capped at $12 million, according to the deal’s term sheet.
The committee will consider a separate request at the meeting to file legislation with Council to appropriate the state grant money for the rail spur.
The 745-acre megasite is at northwest Interstate 10 and Cecil Commerce Center Parkway at city-owned Cecil Commerce Center, a former naval air station.
About 600 acres of the megasite can be developed, according to the city.
The city owns the industrial park property and Dallas-based Hillwood is the master developer of what is AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center.
According to its website, Cosentino produces sustainable surfaces for kitchens, bathrooms, living and outdoor spaces and other architectural projects.
Its brands include Silestone, Dekton, Sensa and Scalea. Uses include countertops, facades and flooring.
The city’s project summary says the initial phase of the project would be a 408,000-square-foot facility with another 734,00 square feet for adjacent support areas and two production lines.
The summary says Cosentino will create 180 jobs by the end of 2028.
The city would sell the future 150-acre option parcel to the company at 75% of the appraised value at the date of the purchase.
The city would have two separate right-of-repurchase options built into the agreement should Cosentino not begin construction on initial improvements by Jan. 1, 2026, or construction of second-phase improvements by Jan. 31, 2035, according to the term sheet.
The city’s total cost to prepare the site is $13.6 million.
Council is considering a bill for $5.6 million in wetland mitigation to prepare the site for construction.
According to the project summary, the city will also need to spend $3 million to extend Logistics Lane, a road that will service the site; $2.5 million on the city’s portion of the rail extension; and $2.5 million for water and sewer connection.
Those expenses would be included in the Council legislation for the deal.
The city would net $6.92 million from the land sale after these expenses, according to the economic development office report.
The land will be sold to Cosentino for $76,000 per acre. The company will get what the city considers a 60-acre credit in the deal because there are unpermitted and unmitigated wetlands on the site, as well as a stormwater pond system that the company will need to build.
The project summary said the city has been coordinating with CSX Corp. on the rail line extension.