The Jacksonville City Council increased a property tax refund to $2.5 million for cold storage warehouse FlexCold LLC as it expands its North Jacksonville facility.
The Council voted 17-1 on Jan. 24 to approve Resolution 2023-0015 that includes the Recapture Enhanced Value Grant, a property tax refund, on what is expected to be a $115 million, 346,000-square-foot facility at 11180 Blasius Road.
Council member Rory Diamond was the only vote against the incentives bill. Sam Newby was absent for the vote.
FlexCold announced Oct. 20 it opened Phase 1 of the cold-storage warehouse. It is an almost 150,000-square-foot operation.
That came as the city reviews civil engineering plans for a proposed 170,440-square-foot expansion as FlexCold Phase 2.
Council previously approved an REV grant capped at $1.1 million in April 2021 for the project before the South Carolina-based international frozen protein distributor announced it would make its Jacksonville facility larger.
According to a summary from the city Office of Economic Development, FlexCold told the city the expanded facility would create 40 full-time jobs, up from 20 in the original agreement.
The jobs would have an average annual wage of $55,422 plus benefits, according to the city summary. FlexCold would be required to have the jobs in place by Dec. 31, 2025, to receive the city grant.
“This expansion means more jobs for our community and better support for our local businesses and transporters,” Mayor Lenny Curry said in a FlexCold news release distributed Jan. 24 by JAX Chamber and the Jacksonville Port Authority.
“FlexCold-Jacksonville’s expansion is another example of the tremendous economic growth we are experiencing across sectors. I am proud to be a part of the business-friendly environment here in Jacksonville,” Curry said.
The release said construction will start on the expansion in the first quarter of 2023 with completion estimated in summer 2024.
The city summary says FlexCold’s expansion is a response to marketplace demand, and the company said the incentive was a material factor in its decision to expand.
Although the REV grant payout cap is increasing, the terms of the REV grant remain a five-year, 50% refund of the increased taxable value of the property.
ARCO Design/Build LLC of Atlanta and Jacksonville-based England-Thims & Miller Inc., the project’s civil engineer, submitted the plans Oct. 12.
The firms filed mass grading plans for the project’s Phase 2 on Jan. 17.
According to the news release, FlexCold’s Jacksonville facility will offer:
• More than 350,000 square feet and more than 55,000 pallet positions of chilled and frozen storage.
• 51 bays and 115 reefer plug-ins.
• Both cooling and freezing with temperatures ranging from minus 10 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
• On-site blast freezing is available, with a capacity of up to 12 loads per day.
• 100 local jobs to support economic growth.
“The expansion of FlexCold-Jacksonville will further enhance the company’s capabilities to service the growing import and export demand, as well as the strategic distribution services offerings to major population centers in the Southeastern U.S.,” the release said.
The expansion will allow FlexCold-Jacksonville to consolidate service offerings to one location and minimize product movements and touches which the release says would reduce costs and damage.
The warehouse is 3 miles from JaxPort’s Blount Island Marine Terminal.
“The investments that have been made in our port provide the capabilities for our region to efficiently accommodate growing consumer demand for fresh and frozen foods, including poultry and seafood,” JaxPort CEO Eric Green said in the release.
“We are thrilled that FlexCold continues to grow their business in Jacksonville, attracting new cargo business and the jobs and economic impact it supports to our city and state.”
Additional FlexCold services include:
• USDA-approved export stamping, labeling and exporting document preparation.
• Container loading, unloading and cross-docking.
• Adaptive warehouse management system with customer portal.