Taking advantage of the city’s heavy and increasing traffic of international shipping, Hilllwood is about to break ground on a 400,000-square-foot build-to-suit distribution center in Jacksonville, Fla., for Laney & Duke Terminal Warehouse Co. Inc., a Florida-based logistics company. Also part of the deal, which closed late last month, Dallas-based Hillwood purchased a 360,998-square foot building, also in Jacksonville, from Laney & Duke in a sale-lease-back agreement. Financial terms were not disclosed.“The Jacksonville market is one of the top distribution nodes in the country,” noted Gary Frederick, vice president of Hillwood Investment Properties.The new build-to-suit, scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2007, will be located in Norfolk Southern Railroad’s Westlake Industrial Park, which is easily accessible to major interstates, such as I-295. It is also just 20 minutes away from the Port of Jacksonville, which has one of the largest commercial cargo ports in the southeast, according to a Port Authority spokesperson. “The Hillwood-Laney & Duke deal comes at a time when there is increased awareness of Jacksonville due to the recent commitment (of Tokyo-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.) at Jaxport,” said Brian T. Duke, president of Laney & Duke. He is referring to the 30-year lease agreement between Mitsui and the Jacksonville Port Authority signed last summer. Mitsui is planning to build a $200 million, 158-acre facility at the Port of Jacksonville, which is scheduled to open late 2007 or early 2008. The new facility will make possible cargo container service between the port and Asia for the first time. The Port Authority spokesperson said that Mitsui will become the agency’s largest tenant based on size, revenue and containers handled with the development of its first East Coast terminal at Jacksonville.