Vacant for almost a year, the former Sears warehouse in North Jacksonville that was considered to be the largest industrial building available for lease in the state now has a tenant.
Pattillo Industrial Real Estate Vice President Peter Anderson said the 815,000-square-foot North Jacksonville warehouse will be leased to GE Appliances for a distribution center.
Pattillo affiliate Stone Mountain Industrial Park Inc. owns the property.
“Having the building is what brought the deal together,” Anderson said Friday.
Anderson said GE Appliances already leases space in Jacksonville and will consolidate those operations into the larger building at 2969 Faye Road.
The company will begin moving this summer, he said.
“GE Appliances has been here a long time,” he said. It “has a long history in Jacksonville.”
He said GE Appliances leases a warehouse on Whittaker Road. Property records show the almost 480,000-square-foot warehouse was built in 1995 at 600 Whittaker Road in Imeson International Industrial Park.
The Faye Road site is 8 miles east of the Imeson location.
Anderson said GE Appliances leased additional space on occasion.
“They decided they wanted to consolidate, and our building just worked perfectly for them,” he said.
GE Appliances spokeswoman Julie Wood said Friday the company has plans to move its Jacksonville distribution center to a larger location nearby.
“But we don't have any details to announce at this time,” she said in an email.
Anderson said the deal came about quickly, starting in late 2018. “It was a good fit once we started talking,” he said.
Anderson declined to share terms of the deal but said it is a long-term lease.
Terry Quarterman and Ben Stewart with CBRE represented GE Appliances.
A 2010 Florida Times-Union report said General Electric was the sole tenant in the 600 Whittaker Road building, where it distributed major appliances to Florida, South Georgia, the Carolinas and the Caribbean.
The Faye Road structure was built in 2008 for Sears’ use.
The struggling Sears said in April 2017 that it was not renewing the lease, releasing the structure for other tenants as of March 2018.
Anderson said in 2017 he believed the structure was the largest building available for lease in the state.
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, GE Appliances is a Haier company. Its brands include Hotpoint, GE, Haier, Café, GE Profile and Monogram and its products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners and water filtration systems.
Haier Group acquired GE Appliances in 2016.
The size of the deal is significant.
“It’s big for Jacksonville,” Anderson said. “What’s amazing is that we are seeing deals of this magnitude with some regularity now, and that’s encouraging for the market.”
Within the past few years, Amazon.com has opened two fulfillment centers of 1 million square feet each. Wayfair Inc. will lease a 1 million-square-foot center under development in Cecil Commerce Center.
Cecil Commerce Center master developer Hillwood also has plans for a 1.5 million-square-foot center. No tenant has been announced for that.
Anderson said that 1 million-square-foot buildings emerged in the U.S. about 20 years ago and became common in larger markets about a decade ago.
He said Jacksonville has more buildings in the 750,000-square-foot and over range than any other city in Florida.
He expects to see more.