"Today is an important milestone for Nassau County and Florida. In just over two years, we have already created over 330,000 private-sector jobs and our unemployment rate has dipped to 7.2 percent - well below the national average. Florida is ideally positioned to be a global hub for business and this site will allow any company to do business worldwide. Projects like this will help us continue to create jobs and opportunities for Florida families," said Governor Rick Scott.
"Megasite certification provides certainty to prospective buyers that all the preliminary work is done and that the site is ready for acquisition and development," said Paul Boynton, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Rayonier. "Prospective companies can expand or relocate to Crawford with the security of knowing that zoning and permits are secured, environmental and geotechnical testing is done, and engineering work for drainage, utilities and transportation infrastructure is complete."
Crawford Diamond is the only site in Florida where two Class I railroads intersect and one of the few undeveloped dual-rail served sites remaining in the South, making it a truly rare, valuable site and an ideal location for a large-scale manufacturer or distributor. In addition to on-site frontage to both CSX and Norfolk Southern, Crawford Diamond is close to five deep-water ports, four marine terminals, and two interstates. It is located 10 miles from the Jacksonville International Airport, with a 700,000-strong workforce within a 50-mile radius. Due to its proximity to Interstate 95, distributors based at the site can easily service the entire U.S. Southeast.
"Crawford Diamond represents a stronger and more prosperous future for Nassau County. Our county's Vision 2032 Task Force, the Nassau County Economic Development Board, our Planning & Zoning Board, and my fellow County Commissioners are working tirelessly to listen to our citizens and execute our vision to create high-wage jobs in Nassau County for current and future generations," said Daniel Leeper, chairman, Nassau County, Board of County Commissioners. We greatly appreciate the thoughtful and transparent land use planning that Rayonier and TerraPointe brought to this project."
Crawford Diamond is already approved for up to 10.5 million square feet of industrial land use, which can include manufacturing, assembly, warehousing and distribution, as well as an intermodal inland port or logistics center. The site, which was recently recognized by Southern Business & Development magazine as one of the nation's "Ten Rail-Served Sites that Deserve a Second Look," has access to natural gas and is approved for on-site power generation.
"With the vast majority of rail-served facilities captive to just one railroad, companies put a major premium on being able to choose between two competing Class I rail companies," said Boynton. "Shippers at Crawford Diamond will have 3,250 feet of frontage on CSX and 6,700 feet of frontage on Norfolk Southern to make their shipping costs more competitive and provide access to more rail origins and destinations."
TerraPointe, in partnership with the Nassau County Economic Development Board, shepherded the zoning and entitlement process to ready Crawford Diamond for development. The process of pursuing and obtaining entitlements - thus removing the technical and regulatory hurdles for buyers - is the foundation of TerraPointe's land value creation strategy.
"This is a big step forward in our five-year strategic plan, Nassau Tomorrow. Megasite certification validates Crawford Diamond's status as one of the top industrial sites in the country," said Steve Rieck, Executive Director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board. "Certification is the stamp of approval that many major companies now require before they'll even consider a site for expansion or relocation, as it signifies the site is served with adequate infrastructure, properly zoned, and relatively risk free. With certification complete, Crawford Diamond is sure to quickly attract large employers to our region, helping us meet Nassau Tomorrow's goal of 3,800 new jobs."
In addition to certification, Crawford Diamond features an even faster development timeframe than many similar sites due to local expedited permitting procedures. Nassau County boasts a 30-day permitting process with no concurrency, enabling companies to begin development as soon as possible.
TerraPointe LLC, Rayonier Inc.'s real estate subsidiary, executes Rayonier's real estate value creation strategy by acquiring and entitling properties for residential, commercial and industrial uses, master planning and permitting for future communities, and marketing of higher-and-better-use properties. For more information, visit www.terrapointeserviceslandsales.com.
Rayonier is a leading international forest products company with three core businesses: Forest Resources, Real Estate and Performance Fibers. The company owns, leases or manages 2.7 million acres of timber and land in the United States and New Zealand. The company's holdings include approximately 200,000 acres with residential and commercial development potential along the Interstate 95 corridor between Savannah, Ga., and Daytona Beach, Fla. Its Performance Fibers business is one of the world's leading producers of high-value specialty cellulose fibers, which are used in products such as filters, pharmaceuticals and LCD screens. Approximately 50 percent of the company's sales are outside the U.S. to customers in approximately 40 countries. Rayonier is structured as a real estate investment trust. More information is available at www.rayonier.com.
About Nassau County Economic Development Board:
The Nassau County Economic Development Board is a non-profit organization formed in 1995 as a public-private partnership to provide leadership and develop policies and programs that will foster a diversified and financially strong business community, which will enhance the quality of life in Nassau County. The NCEDB is committed to help broaden and diversify the local tax base and to assist with the creation of high-quality, diversified jobs within all areas of Nassau County. For more information, visit www.expandinnassau.com.