News Article | 5/1/2006

Hillwood Plans 400,000-SF BTS Center

JACKSONVILLE, FL-Locally based Laney & Duke Terminal Warehouse Co. Inc., a 77-year-old logistics firm which has outgrown its quarters, has contracted with Plano, TX-based Hillwood to develop a 400,000-sf build-to-suit distribution center in Norfolk Southern Railroad’s Westlake Industrial Park. The park is off Pritchard Road on Jacksonville’s west side.

Hillwood officials couldn’t be reached by’s publication deadline to learn the development cost of the project. However, area construction sources familiar with comparable ventures tell the center will probably be built at an estimated hard construction cost of $50 per sf or a total $20 million.

Brian T. Duke, president of Laney & Duke, and Gary Frederick, vice president of Hillwood Investment Properties, did not specify in a prepared statement when the project would break ground and when it might be completed. However, Duke says “the timing of this deal is key and very opportunistic, as there is increased awareness of Jacksonville, due to the recent MOL commitment at Jaxport.”

Last year, Tokyo-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL) signed a 30-year lease with the Jacksonville Port Authority to establish, for the first time, cargo container service between the port and Asia, as previously reported.

Duke says the build-to-suit “will have ample space that will allow Laney & Duke to capitalize on the increased activity and market to potential customers, while meeting the additional space needs of our existing customers.”

Under terms of the build-to-suit agreement, Laney & Duke and Hillwood also completed a sale-leaseback transaction on Laney & Duke’s 360,998-sf building at 2855 Faye Rd. Officials of both companies couldn’t be reached to learn the estimated value of that transaction. However, area industrial brokers familiar with the city’s west side submarket tell the Faye Road building could have gone down for about $40 per sf or a total $14.43 million.

The new Jacksonville project is part of about 9.6 million sf of commercial space under construction at Hillwood projects across the country, according to Frederick. Hillwood is owned by the Ross Perot family of Texas.