US $ 300 million distribution center planned in Westlake Industrial Park | Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record

James C. “Watty” Watson, CEO of CT Realty, California, estimates more than $ 300 million has been invested in plans for a 251 acre distribution center in Westlake Industrial Park along Pritchard Road.

A partnership between CT Realty and Diamond Realty Investments LLC plans to develop 3.2 million square feet between eight buildings on property acquired on April 29th.

CT Realty said it would be Jacksonville’s largest speculative industrial development.

Watson said on May 10 that the partnership will begin with an initial phase of more than 1.7 million square feet between three buildings due for completion for rental in the second quarter of 2022.

The three structures will be 1,010,350 square feet, 416,000 square feet, and 320,240 square feet.

James C. “Watty” Watson

Watson said Evans general contractor has started initial work on site. Vertical construction begins on or around August 1st.

“We love Jacksonville, we love the growth story, we love the infrastructure,” said Watson.

He cited Interstates 10 and 95, the railways, and JaxPort as reasons for identifying Jacksonville as a distribution center.

“Our business is aimed at the largest tenants in the industry, especially the growth that is being driven by e-commerce,” said Watson.

“We’ve been in the Jacksonville market for three to four years looking for a project that is the right size,” he said.

The second phase will follow based on market demand. It will span nearly 1.5 million square feet among five buildings ranging from 250,000 to 425,000 square feet.

The project was not named, he said.

Watson said the first phase structures will be built at the same time. No tenants were signed.

“We are building these across the country and there are quite a few tenants out there,” he said, looking for buildings of the planned size.

“They are usually the same size from market to market.”

He said many of them are retailers focused on e-commerce; Third party logistics companies; and other.

“We talk to big tenants around the country all the time,” said Watson.

The Jacksonville market is competitive with industrial and sales projects as multiple developers continue to build speculative and bespoke projects.

“We see an opportunity,” said Watson. ā€œWe believe that more space is needed now. That’s why we build so aggressively. We believe the demand is there, so we’re betting on Jacksonville. “

DRI / CTR JAX Phase I LLC purchased 251 acres in Westlake Industrial Park from Southeast Toyota Distributors LLC of Deerfield Beach for $ 19.5 million. The sale was recorded on May 10th.

Watson said the land is adjacent to the southeastern Toyota facility.

Watson said that Guy Preston, executive director of Colliers International, and Seda Preston, associate director, represented the buyer and seller.

CT Realty is based in Newport Beach, California. CTR Logistics JAX LLC is the manager of Florida LLC.

According to Watson, Diamond Realty Investments is the US investment subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp.

Westlake Industrial Park in West Jacksonville. The CT project is planned alongside Southeast Toyota.

Mitsubishi has its headquarters in Tokyo and the US office in Dallas.

“We’ve done projects with them across the country,” said Watson.

He cited Jacksonville’s employment growth, housing starts and consumer spending as “the sum of the need for additional storage space”.

He also specified the growth at JaxPort and “your freedom to develop and meet the needs of the market”.

Watson said CT Realty’s first exploration trip to Florida was four years ago.

“We’ve narrowed the field on Jacksonville,” he said. It is also active in Atlanta.

“We just think Jacksonville is a great lifestyle alternative, a great growth story, and getting better every day.”

CT Realty said the project will expand its presence in the southeastern US as the company lays the groundwork with 10 million square feet of logistics projects in 2021.

CT Logistics announces on its website that it specializes in the acquisition, development and management of sales, logistics and e-commerce facilities in Tier 1 markets across the country.

Colliers International reported in its Jacksonville Market Overview in the first quarter that vacancy rates in the industry remained steady at 5.2% and average rental rates were $ 7.14 per square foot, down from $ 6.88 in Q1 2020.

“With nearly 3 million square feet under construction, the Jacksonville industrial market is well on its way to exceed 150 million square feet by 2023,” the report said. “The new supply seems to be keeping up with demand, so we are not yet concerned about overbuilding.”

Guy Preston said on May 10th there is room for more.

“Corporate America gives us four to six months’ notice to take up space. So we have to have a product – and the product is very low,” he said.

Preston said there was a good deal in the final quarter of 2019 so development had kept pace. Then, in early 2020, the pandemic halted the economy and activity stalled, followed by what he described as a “huge rental” of available space.

Three new speculative buildings will provide locations to tenants wishing to have a presence in Jacksonville.

“If we don’t have that, they bypass us,” said Preston.

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