JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Online giant Amazon.com filed a permit Friday to build a second fulfillment center in Jacksonville that's expected to create 1,200 jobs, according to city records obtained by News4Jax Monday.
Amazon.com first announced in July plans to expand to the River City with a more than 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center along International Airport Boulevard and Pecan Park Road, just north of Interstate 295.
The Northside fulfillment center will create 1,500 full-time jobs when it opens -- totaling 2,700 new jobs in Jacksonville between the two warehouses.
The Financial News & Daily Record reported the plans filed Friday are for a second warehouse off 103rd Street on the city's Westside. Plans were filed for the city to review a proposed 1,016,041-square-foot warehouse fulfillment center on 86 acres, which matches the unidentified "Project Velo" for which City Council approved incentives Oct. 11.
However, there is no official word yet whether the two projects are one and the same.
When News4Jax visited the area near Cecil Commerce Center Monday, a huge swath of land was being cleared. But the superintendent of the construction site could not reveal what the land was being cleared for.
Several city leaders told News4Jax Monday they had heard about Amazon.com's plans, but none of them could go on the record.
The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce also said it "can't comment on a project like that."
Rick Mullaney, director of Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute, who spent 20 years working for the city, said he's not surprised that officials have remained quiet about the plans.
"Economic development is competitive and you're usually competing with other locations, sometimes other states, sometimes other places even within the state. And for companies, they require a quiet time in which they can negotiate, hash out other bids. And if the information comes out too soon, sometimes it can jeopardize the deal," Mullaney said.
Jacksonville City Councilman Doyle Carter also told News4Jax that he had no comment on the second fulfillment center, which would be built in his district. Mullaney was not surprised by that response.
"It's clearly important to the councilman from that district and very important to the mayor. You want to be the one that brings jobs to Jacksonville," Mullaney said.
While officials may not be talking, many people in Jacksonville expressed excitement about the news, saying it would be good for the city.
"That's excellent," said Rob Dumas, a Jacksonville resident. "Anytime you're bringing in employment to help people, nothing bad about that at all. That's all good stuff."
There is a state law that allows local governments to maintain confidentiality on deals like these.
News4Jax also reached out to Seattle-based Amazon, but had not received a response as of early Monday evening.
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