Land Use Approval Paves Way for 5 MSF Industrial Park in Florida’s Nassau County
- Nov 22, 2010
November 22, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
TerraPointe L.L.C. takes a big step forward with its plan to develop the Crawford Diamond Industrial Park in Nassau County, Fla., now that the state of Florida has given land use approval for a 1,800-acre site to accommodate the 5 million square-foot project.
TerraPointe is the real estate arm of international forest products company Rayonier Inc., which has owned the timberland site for decades. The property sits 16 miles outside of Jacksonville and now that it has been cleared for industrial use, it will be able to accommodate a variety of industrial uses. Crawford Diamond is approved for as much as 780,000 square feet of manufacturing space, 780,000 square feet of light-industrial space and approximately 3.6 million square feet of high cube warehouse space.
TerraPointe, backed by Nassau County, the Nassau County Economic Development Board and the state, has valid reasons for pursuing the development of such a grand project despite the lackluster state of the local industrial market. While Nassau County’s warehouse sub-sector is thriving with a vacancy rate of less than 1 percent, the flex submarket is hobbling along with a 14.1 percent vacancy rate, according to a third-quarter report by commercial real estate services firm Colliers International. But it’s all about location.
Crawford Diamond will be 16 miles from Interstate 95, 18 miles from Interstate 10 and within close proximity of Jacksonville International Airport, the Jacksonville Port Authority and the Port of Fernandina, a Rayonier spokesperson told CPE.
It is also near deepwater ports at Brunswick and Savannah, Georgia, but the most important draw is the property’s dual-rail access; the on-site rail frontage for CSX and Norfolk Southern is a respective 3,250 and 6,700 feet. Many manufacturers and distributors want dual rail access, so they will not have to rely solely on a single line. It is very rare to have two rail crossings in such close proximity, the spokesperson said, adding that the unique feature has been of interest to Nassau County and Rayonier’s TerraPointe division for quite some time, and that it was the impetus for taking the property through the land use change.
TerraPointe and Nassau County believe Crawford Diamond’s convenient location and unique rail access will lure tenants, which in turn, will create new jobs. He noted that the County has a low jobs-to-housing ratio, and, having made a commitment to local officials, TerraPointe wants to utilize the park to help position the area for new jobs.
Development of the industrial complex is still in the formative stages, but with land use approval in hand, TerraPointe is moving on to the next order of business. The company will develop a marketing plan and initiate talks with site selection consultants, the spokesperson said. There is no timeline for the commencement of Crawford Diamond’s construction, but the project will be a multi-year endeavor that will grow in stages as demand dictates.