After long and thorough negotiations over the sales agreement, the Winter Haven City Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to move forward with the sale of land to CSX Transportation, Inc. and consent to assignment of purchase rights by CSX Transportation, Inc. to Winter Haven Industrial Investors, LLC.
Winter Haven Industrial Investors, LLC is a company formed by GEM Realty Capital, Inc. (developer and key equity investor) out of Chicago to develop the Integrated Logistics Center in Winter Haven. The team they’ve assembled consists of leading experts and companies in the business of logistic park development including Michael Mullen, (industry expert and 36-year veteran to logistics development including 70 million square feet of facilities around the globe), Clayco(general contractor and architect of similar logistics centers), CBRE Advisors (leasing/marketing agent), to name just a few. According to their proposal, the project team will ‘emphasize hiring local contractors and suppliers during and after construction.’
During the commission meeting, Rick Hood of CSX commented that CSX’s vision when they began this project in Winter Haven in 2006 was to change how freight is transported to and from Central Florida. The first step was the opening of the CSX Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center (which began operations in April 2014) and the next step is the build out of the integrated logistics center on the adjacent land. He stated that they were looking for a development partner that exemplified strength of knowledge and experience as well as someone who looked at development with an eye to environmental stewardship, as CSX views all of their projects. He stated that he felt confident that the team that has been assembled meets that criteria.
Mike Mullen spoke on behalf of the development team and assured the commissioners that Winter Haven Industrial Investors, LLC is here for the long haul. They look forward to not only building out the estimated 8 million square feet of warehousing and distribution space and investing close to $400 million into the site, but they also are looking forward to being a part of the Winter Haven community.
The final agreement outlined two sub-parcels totaling 932 acres that will be purchased by the GEM development team. Development of the first parcel (532 acres sold for $8.4 million) will occur within 9 months of closing. The purchase of the remaining acreage will be completed once required mitigation of wetland impacts are finalized, in approximately 18 to 24 months.