JACKSONVILLE, FL—For all the talk about the Port of Miami, North Florida is seeing plenty of port action of its own. Could industrial development could soon follow?
GlobeSt.com caught up with Monte Merritt, senior director with Franklin Street’s Jacksonville office, to discuss what’d happening at the Port of Jacksonville and how it will impact the area’s commercial real estate market in part one of this exclusive two-part interview. Be sure to come back this afternoon to read part two.
GlobeSt.com: What is happening with the Port of Jacksonville?
Merritt: For several years, there has been much debate in Jacksonville regarding deepening an 11-mile stretch of the St. Johns River that leads to Jacksonville Port Authority’s (Jaxport’s) Talleyrand Marine Terminal. On June 10, 2014, President Barack Obama signed a $12.3 billion waterways and ports infrastructure bill that includes authorization to deepen the port. Now the city must find funding.
The depth of the Port of Jacksonville has created a state of uncertainty over the city’s status as a main player among its east shore competitors, which include Savannah and Charleston.
GlobeSt.com: How will deepening the port affect the area’s commercial real estate market?
Merritt: Currently at 40 feet, increasing the depth to 47 feet would allow larger vessels to enter, making the port more competitive with others in the region and, as a result, positively impacting the area’s commercial real estate market. At its current depth, container ships can only be partially loaded and can only enter or exit the port during high tide, causing scheduling limitations and increased cargo costs.
GlobeSt.com: How long after the project is complete will it take to have an effect on the CRE market?
Merritt: I would estimate about a year after completion. That is when we should start seeing more demand for warehouse space and other industrial properties.