Major milestone for Jaxport: Deepening project receives first-ever federal construction dollars

Although the funding is just a fraction of the estimated $700 million or more the entire project will cost, it does represent a major milestone, as this is the first time Washington, D.C., has stepped forward with money for the deepening itself..

JaxportWe’ve crossed the goal line on this one,” said Eric Green, Jaxport’s interim CEO. “The entire conversation now has changed.”

In total, Florida has $238.3 million committed in the work plan. As well as the deepening money, North Florida projects include $3.2 million for beach nourishment in Nassau County and $3.3 million for nourishment in St. Johns County.

For Jaxport, the funding represents the culmination of a fight that has been going on for years, as the area first struggled to get the work authorized and then fought to get the money to pay for it. The deeper draft is necessary to bring fully laden container ships in at all tide levels, particularly when dealing with the larger ships that are now going through the Panama Canal.

The port embarked on the pre-construction, engineering and design phase of the project in 2014 — which also received federal funds — setting the stage for actual construction.

Plenty of unanswered questions still remain, including what the total price tag will be — the authority has mooted various options for the deepening project — and where the rest of the money will come from.

Green was unable to say exactly when those answers would be nailed down. In April, the City Council — one likely funding partner — asked for hard numbers by the beginning of June but agreed that that was not a hard deadline.

On Wednesday, Green committed to having answers “definitely” before the end of the year, with an eye toward work beginning in late 2017 or early 2018.

“We have this incredible vote of support from the federal government,” Port Authority spokesman Nancy Rubin said. “We still have to fully define the plan for the community.”

When the plan is rolled out, Green said, it will be fully formed, laying out exactly how much of the river will be dredged and where the funding will come from for each of the four phases the work is expected to be split into.

“We’re not going to start the project until we can show we have all the funding,” he said.

City permit confirms new Jacksonville Amazon facility

courtesy of Derrick Gilliam at Jacksonville Business Journal

Amazon will operate a sortation facility out of Jacksonville’s Westside Industrial Park after permits were filed this week for a building at 4948 Bulls Bay Highway.

amazon-2015-holiday-care-packages_750xx4500-2531-0-235The building permits that were uploaded to the city of Jacksonville’s online inspection portal lists May 2 as the date the record was created.


However, speculation that the nearly 15-acre property with a 237,000-square-foot warehouse owned by Pattillo Industrial Real Estate has circulated for months after a previous permit linked the property to Amazon. That permit was issued April 6 and included $500,000 worth of work.

The most recent permits applications total $3.3 million. The permit lists the project as “ sort center JASX” and will involve installation of a manual sortation and conveyor system for small package. That portion of the project will cost $2.3 million.

A second permit would involve build out on the property of offices, an IT cage room, a trucker’s lounge, restrooms and dock levelers in 19,245 square feet of space. The job cost for “phase three” was $1 million with Hitt Contracting Inc. listed as the contractor for that building permit.

This latest move by Amazon continues a wave that started in 2016 when it announced two distribution centers, creating thousands of jobs for Jacksonville’s local economy. The 1.1-million-square-foot distribution center for large packages at 13333 103rd St. had its $3 million roofing permit approved last week.

A 2.4-million-square-foot distribution center near the Jacksonville International airport will create 1,500 jobs, according to economic development legislation filed with the city in 2016.

This latest project would help connect packages from the distribution centers to carriers, which ultimately bring products to customers.

Amazon has not commented about its Jacksonville projects outside of announcements connected to the distribution centers.

Logistics Industry Day

In conjunction with the Jacksonville Urban League, CareerSource Northeast Florida will host a Logistics Industry Day on May 9th. This events will spotlight current opportunities within the Jacksonville area and  provide job preparation training.  Please refer to the link below for more information and to register for the event.

Jax Urban League Logistic Day Registration