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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Plano, TX-based Hillwood is planning to begin construction immediately on West Point Trade Center, a 610,000-sf speculative industrial building. The project is expected to be completed in early fourth quarter.

The building will be located on the city’s Westside, near the Port of Jacksonville and within two miles of the CSX Intermodal rail facility and the Interstate 295/Interstate 10 Interchange. The project cost was not released.

Hillwood Investment Properties vice president T. Preston Herold tells GlobeSt.com that the building can be divided to accommodate up to four tenants. Leasing efforts have started on the project, but no signed leases are yet in place. “There have been a large number of build-to-suit projects in Jacksonville because there has not been speculative space,” Herold says. “We think there is a demand for speculative space so we’re moving forward with the project.”

The project is being developed to accommodate an anticipated need for industrial space in the area, driven in part by two Asian shipping company’s plans to open new terminals at the port. The new terminals are expected to bring additional capacity for 1.8 million containers. Japan-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is expected to open a 157-acre, $220-million terminal later in 2008. Plans are also under way for Hanjin Shipping Co. to open a new 170-acre, $360-million terminal in 2011. The facility will be the company’s first dedicated operation on the US East Coast.

In addition to the new terminals, a proposed dredging project is being considered which will allow the port to handle the large ships that will travel through the Panama Canal in 2014, when the canal expansion project is scheduled to be complete.

West Point Trade Center will be the third industrial building Hillwood has either developed or purchased in Jacksonville in the past two years. The company developed a 400,000-sf build-to-suit distribution center for Laney & Duke on Presidents Court in 2007 and purchased a 360,998-sf facility on Faye Road in 2006.

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