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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, is increasing its Florida presence with the planned fall ground-breaking of a one-million-sf distribution center in St. Lucie County.

The Bentonville, AR-based retailer is paying Flagler Development Co., of Jacksonville, FL, $5.6 million, or $24,561 per acre (56 cents per sf), for 228 acres adjacent to Interstate 95, north of Midway Road between the Florida Turnpike and the Glades Cut-Off Road.

The deal hinged on Flagler and Wal-Mart assuring state and federal environment officials that a bald eagle nesting area would not be disturbed during the development stages of the distribution center, says Flagler president G. John Carey.

“Flagler worked with Wal-Mart and state and federal officials to preserve a bald eagle nesting area that was found adjacent to the project site,” Carey says. “The project ensures there will be no disturbance to the nesting area.”

Another unconventional aspect of the deal involved Flagler donating 16.7 acres to the St. Lucie County government which will build a portion of South Jenkins Road to provide access to the distribution center.

“This transaction is another example of Flagler’s ongoing efforts to dispose of surplus land on a favorable basis,” Carey says. Flagler retains ownership of about 250 acres at this location for future rail-served industrial development. The land is next to Florida’s major highways.

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