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More than 100 full-time and seasonal jobs and almost $60 million in capital investment are on the way to North and Northwest Jacksonville.

The city approved a permit Wednesday for VanTrust Real Estate LLC to proceed with construction of Imeson 300, a facility that will be leased to Cra-Z-Art for manufacturing in North Jacksonville.

Also Wednesday, a permit was requested for construction of a cold-storage facility for use by Preferred Freezer Services in Northwest Jacksonville.

Both projects applied for incentives.

Cra-Z-Art will lease a 300,000-square-foot building under development at 10501 Cold Storage Road in Imeson Park.

The city approved the foundation permit at a cost of $11.7 million. Evans General Contractors of Alpharetta, Georgia, is the contractor.

Cra-Z-Art sells activity, art and school supplies, toys and stationery products and will relocate manufacturing and distribution from the Midwest and New Jersey.

The company is a division of LaRose Industries LLC, which is based in Randolph, New Jersey.

Cra-Z-Art proposes to hire 21 full-time production supervisors, management staff and warehouse personnel in Jacksonville by year-end 2021 at an average $53,298 annually.

It says it could hire 50 seasonal employees annually.

City Council approved incentives in November for the project, known then as Project Buckeye.

It sought $689,000 in city and state incentives that comprise a $626,000 Recapture Enhanced Value grant from the city and a $63,000 Qualified Target Industry Tax refund of which the city will pay $12,600.

VanTrust agreed to sell the completed building to The Silverman Group of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, which is leasing it to Cra-Z-Art.

Preferred Freezer Services, a national refrigerated storage warehouse company, proposes to develop a $46.7 million cold storage warehouse in Northwest Jacksonville and create at least 40 jobs.

The project appears to be in development by Chill Build Jacksonville LLC of Indianapolis.

Chill Build applied to the city Wednesday for construction of a $43.5 million, 222,834-square-foot cold storage facility on 13.25 acres at 5459 Doolittle Road at North Ellis Road.

The contractor is listed as DEEM LLC and Victory Unlimited Construction LLC, which share an address with Chill Build Jacksonville LLC in Indianapolis.

In fast-track legislation introduced to council Tuesday, Preferred Freezer Services of Jacksonville II LLC requests up to $1.2 million in grants.

Incentives comprise a $100,000 Northwest Jacksonville Business Infrastructure Grant and a Recapture Enhanced Value grant of up to $1.1 million, which would refund 50 percent of the increase in ad valorem taxes generated by the project over the first five years of operation.

The project would create at least 40 full-time jobs, at an average annual wage of $47,775, by year-end 2021.

A city summary says Preferred Freezer Services is considering a few cities for the project and that incentives are a material factor in choosing Jacksonville.

Fast-track legislation is a two-cycle reading by council.

Willows Development LLC of Jersey City, New Jersey, bought the Doolittle Road property in 2008. Willows Development is affiliated with John Galiher, founder and CEO of Preferred Freezer Services LLC, which is based in Chatham, New Jersey.

It would be the second Jacksonville facility for the company. The first is at 1780 W. Beaver St.


By: Karen Brune Mathis

From: Jaxdailyrecord

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