News Article | 4/28/2006

Line lures second center

The impending arrival of a shipping line connecting Jacksonville to Asia has lured another distribution center to the First Coast.

Hillwood, a Dallas-based real estate developer, will build a 400,000-square-foot distribution center on Jacksonville’s Westside for Laney & Duke Terminal Warehousing Inc.

The new facility, to be located in Norfolk Southern Corp.’s Westlake Industrial Park, is situated to take advantage of the confluence of Interstates 95 and 10, the company said.

Hillwood is also buying a 361,000-square-foot warehouse on Faye Road from Laney & Duke, which will lease the facility back from the developer.

Jacksonville-based Laney & Duke has been in business since 1929, providing a range of warehousing, distribution and logistics services throughout Florida and Southern Georgia. Among the company’s clients are Fortune 500 companies like The Proctor & Gamble Co., Nestle SA and Colgate-Palmolive Co.

“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,” said Brian T. Duke, president of Laney & Duke. “The new 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.”

“It’s a city that’s been on our radar screen for a while,” said Gary Frederick, vice president of Hillwood Investment Properties. The deal signed last year with Japanese steamship line Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has made the market more attractive.

“We want to be in a position to take advantage of that,” he said.

Hillwood and Laney & Duke’s project comes on the heels of Michaels Stores Inc.’s announcement last week that it was relocating its seasonal goods distribution center from Savannah to Jacksonville.