By: Karen Brune Mathis
Johnson & Johnson Vision is working on at least $57 million in investments at its Jacksonville disposable contact lens manufacturing plant in Deerwood Park on the Southside.
The city issued a permit Oct. 17 for an almost $30.71 million project to renovate space to install new equipment at the 7500 Centurion Parkway plant.
That comes after the city issued a permit Sept. 22 for a $20 million 2GT waste plastics addition and a permit issued Sept. 18 for a $6.1 million nitrogen plant.
Turner Construction Co. of Orlando is the contractor.
“Johnson & Johnson Vision, headquartered in Jacksonville, is committed to creating a healthier world. We recognize our role in helping conserve and protect the planet,” the company said in a statement Sept. 28.
It said its sustainability efforts are focused on three areas:
“Climate: Reducing our carbon footprint and driving renewable energy.
“Waste reduction: Limiting our contribution to landfill through recycling and packaging optimization.
“Natural resources: Finding solutions that combat deforestation and protect and preserve water.”
Johnson & Johnson Vision said the $30.71 million equipment project will increase capacity.
“As an innovative, advanced manufacturing company, our Jacksonville site continuously adapts new technology and systems to increase production capacity, quality and logistics,” it said.
The $20 million 2GT Waste Plastics addition is for recycling.
“Aligned to our sustainability commitment, we are developing a new building to manage and recycle waste plastics,” it said.
The $6.1 million nitrogen plant is for sustainability.
“ We have taken a significant step towards a more sustainable future with the initiation of a nitrogen facility,” the company said.
Johnson & Johnson Vision launched a $200 million expansion project in 2022 of its Jacksonville contact lens facility that should take care of its needs for the next three or four years, said Peter Menziuso, company group chairman in charge of the vision care division, in November 2022.
But that likely won’t be the last time Johnson & Johnson expands its plant, Menziuso said after speaking at JAXUSA Partnership’s quarterly luncheon Nov. 30.
“We are continuously expanding,” he said.
New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson came to Jacksonville in 1981 by acquiring Frontier Contact Lenses and has been expanding since.
Frontier had 150 employees working at its San Marco facility and Johnson & Johnson has grown to 3,500 workers in Jacksonville, he said. That even includes some of the original Frontier employees.
Johnson & Johnson has been the market leader in contact lenses but it began expanding its vision business in 2016 by acquiring companies that make products for cataract surgery.
During a Jan. 31, 2023, interview at the campus, Menziuso said the vision business is “a growth engine for J&J.”
He said the vision business employs about 4,200 people, including contractors, at its Deerwood Park campus.
“We continue to invest in the campus,” Menziuso said.
The contact lens manufacturing operations run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said, and even the coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop that.
“There were well over 2,000 people here every day,” Menziuso said.
“We never went down through that entire period.”
Johnson & Johnson has a second contact lens manufacturing facility in Ireland and it expanded into vision surgery products with acquisitions beginning in 2016.
“We want to truly make a transformative difference in eye health,” Menziuso said.
Johnson & Johnson Vision’s total sales were $4.85 billion in 2022, including $3.54 billion in contact lenses.