The utility industry always has a great debate about how to support energy-intensive customers. Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) approach is to jump right into the industrial development marketplace to encourage the attraction of new business to their market.
FPL has site control of the approximately 1,800-acre Crawford Diamond Industrial Park – a certified industrial park in Nassau County located 16-miles northwest of Jacksonville, Florida. The Crawford Diamond Park has been approved for up to 10.5 M square feet of industrial land use, which can include manufacturing, assembly, warehousing/distribution, and use as an intermodal inland port or logistics center. The location is adjacent to the U.S. Highway 301 and 17 miles from the major north-south and east-west Interstate 95 and Interstate 10. In addition, the industrial park boasts rare, dual Class I rail frontage on-site, providing access to both the CSX and Norfolk Southern rail lines. This flexible industrial park, with extensive logistical solutions, can accommodate a broad range of large-scale industrial projects within an eight-hour drive of 45 M people.
Plans are also in the works for the Florida Department of Transportation to construct a new fly-over ramp on U.S. 301 that would connect directly to the Crawford Diamond area. This project would improve access to the manufacturing site and construction would conclude 18-months after a commitment from a prospective manufacturer to build a facility within the Crawford Diamond site.
FPL holds site control via a combination of ownership and purchase option over the entire Crawford Diamond property, which consists of 1,804 acres. The conceptual plan for this site includes the construction of universal solar using approximately 1,310 acres and FPL has reserved the remaining 494 acres closest to rail/road infrastructure for a manufacturing application. Extensive due diligence and permitting has been completed on 278 acres of the 494 acres set aside, the “Manufacturing Site”, including a preliminary site plan approval which allows for the construction of up to two M square feet of building space and 2,000 parking spaces.
FPL would consider adding to the acreage set aside for manufacturing, if necessary. FPL has already completed a significant amount of due diligence on this property. Specifically, within the 278-acre manufacturing site, the investigation and due diligence activities outlined below have been completed and are available to a prospective manufacturer for review:
⦁ Completed Industrial Zoning process with Nassau County;
⦁ Completed Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA);
⦁ Completed wetland inventory and received approved Jurisdictional Determinations from State and Federal agencies;
⦁ Completed preliminary Geotechnical Report and Soils Analysis;
⦁ Completed endangered species survey; and
⦁ Completed archaeological/cultural resource assessment.
A prospective manufacturer would need to provide details on facility design to secure the remaining permits from the local agencies and these approvals would ultimately depend on the manufacturer’s ability to finalize these designs. Remaining permit requirements include: Final Site Engineering Plans (Nassau County); Building Permits (Nassau County); and Air Permit (Florida Department of Environmental Protection). From a workforce standpoint, CareerSource Northeast Florida is also an active enabling organization in the Nassau County area. This organization is publicly funded, and its core mission is connecting workers to jobs. CareerSource Northeast Florida provides innovative services that exceed employers’ requirements for the jobs of today and the future. Finally, there are a number of state, local and regional incentives available. A manufacturer locating at the Crawford Diamond site could be eligible for several incentives for infrastructure, workforce training, tax exemptions and electric rate incentives. While no valid predictor of success exists for FPL’s Crawford Diamond site, its connection to rail, the Port of Jacksonville, the region’s workforce pool, flexible zoning and the fact that Florida is a right to work state all are positive factors indicating the likely success of the site development project.