CSX announces move from Southpoint to Downtown

Company plans to move 550 employees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – CSX corp. announced that the company is consolidating its operations and seeking to shift at least 550 employees from its Southpoint facilities to a Southside or Downtown site, according to a report in the Daily Record


The location would provide a “safe, comfortable accessible workplace that promotes collaboration in the best, most cost-effective facilities available,” CSX spokeswoman Melanie Cost said in a statement emailed late Monday.


If “all else were equal,” she said, that would mean bringing those employees to about 120,000 square feet of vacant space on the Northbank of the St. Johns River.


Cost said the employees work in the company’s finance, technology, labor relations and corporate real estate organizations.


According to a city report, the Downtown Investment Authority could offer a grant of more than $271,000 a year for five to seven years from its Northbank Tax Increment Financing Fund to the landlord CSX selects.


The incentives would have a $1.9 million maximum indebtedness to the Northbank Community Redevelopment Area, which operates the fund.


Such a deal would be contingent on CSX relocating a minimum of 550 employees Downtown and the company would have to provide written notice that it wouldn’t seek other city incentives for the move.


“They are sincere about looking Downtown,” DIA CEO Aundra Wallace said Tuesday morning.


“And with that sincerity, we are very sincere in bringing them here,” he said.


Wallace said CSX was adamant that a Downtown relocation be to the Northbank, where a few buildings could accommodate its need for 120,000 square feet of vacant space.


Wallace said those buildings include One Enterprise Center, the Bank of America Tower and the SunTrust Building, but he declined to say which buildings the DIA was reviewing for a move.


He said the authority was approached in mid-October about helping to facilitate a possible move. Wallace said he hopes to secure a deal in the first quarter, but is willing to work with the company for however long it takes.


In the statement, Cost said a move would be part of the company’s continued effort to help revitalize Downtown, where the company is based and owns two large structures.


One is the 17-story riverfront headquarters office building a predecessor company built in 1962 at 500 Water St. The other is the 14-story 550 Water St. building it bought two years ago.


Combined, they provide almost 690,000 square feet of space.


Cost said the company seeks to operate more efficiently and reduce overhead costs, which has led to the reconsolidation effort of two adjacent Southpoint buildings the company has occupied for more than 25 years.


Colliers International Northeast Florida represents the two properties, and principal Chuck Diebel said Monday the CSX lease expires in March 2018.


The 6735 Southpoint Drive facility is four stories at 135,404 square feet and the 6737 Southpoint Drive facility is three stories at 139,825 square feet.


CBRE real estate senior vice president Mike Harrell is representing CSX in the site relocation and said Monday the company was looking at buildings around the city for the functions.


“We’ve covered the gamut,” he said.