JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s official. Hillwood will be the company that develops Cecil Field.
The deal was unanimously approved Tuesday night by the Jacksonville City Council.
The vote didn’t come without controversy. Some local business owners said Hillwood got too good of a deal from the city, and they’ll end up losing business by the time all is said and done.
Daniel Webb with Imeson International Industrial Park and a critic of the Hillwood deal said, “It seems unfair to us that they would be picking out one development over other developments that have been in the Jacksonville communities for a number of years.”
The city didn’t see it that way. At a meeting with Northside Business Leaders, JEDC Executive Director Ron Barton defended the city’s decision to choose the Texas-based company.
“If we are successful at Cecil, Jacksonville will be successful,” said Barton. “I’m optimistic. The fact of the matter is we believe there’s no unfair competitive advantage for Hillwood. They’ll have to earn it just like every other developer in town.”
Because of its size and location, the city expects to turn Cecil Field into a world-class distribution and logistics center. The JEDC also says it will bring hundreds of jobs to the area.