Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire L.L.C. (BFS) plans to build a $44 million distribution center in Jacksonville to service dealerships throughout the southeastern U.S. starting next summer.
The new center, to be built in Jacksonville's Cecil Commerce Center North, will cover 1 million square feet and create about 250 jobs at full capacity, BFS said.
The proximity of the major interstates combined with the accessibility of Jacksonville Port Authority makes this an ``ideal location,'' said Nelson Miller, director of logistics for BFS.
The city of Jacksonville intends to sell BFS-upon approval of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission (JEDC) and city council-63.3 acres of land in the Cecil Commerce Center North for $3.2 million.
BFS hopes to begin construction by the fall and be open for business by June 2007.
The tire maker has budgeted about $44 million for the project. The warehouse will be capable of holding 1.2 million passenger and light truck tires and 125,000 medium truck/bus radials.
JEDC Executive Director Ron Barton called the project ``pivotal'' to the city's efforts to develop the area, located on the site of the former Cecil Field Naval Air Station, which closed in 1999. The site is west of Jacksonville near Interstates 10 and 295.
Dealerships in the Southeast currently are serviced by BFS centers in Albany, Ga., Allentown, Pa., and Lebanon, Tenn. It will be BFS' eighth distribution center in the U.S.
Jacksonville is a port of entry for BFS tires from South America and Asia, and the new center also will handle tires from BFS' domestic factories, a BFS spokeswoman said.