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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Winter Haven, Fla., pursues Logistics Center for CSX Terminal

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The city of Winter Haven, Fla., is moving forward on the Integrated Logistics Center to be developed in conjunction with the CSX Intermodal Terminal planned for the southern portion of the city, The News Chief reports. The planning commission discussed during a workshop Feb. 2 a change in future land use from Institutional-2 as designated by Polk County to industrial-business park center for the approximately 932 acres. The city annexed the property in 2005 but didn't assign a land use designation or zoning.

The change will allow redevelopment of the majority of the property by establishing a future land use classification that complements the Evansville Western Railway Inc. Development of Regional Impact approved in 2008. The future land use amendment will include about 916 acres of business park center and approximately 16 acres of conservation land.

According to Dave Dickey, the city's development director, the proposed business park uses consist of about six percent in office space, 28 percent light industrial and 66 percent warehouse distribution. At maximum build out, Dickey said, the land use would allow up to 7.9 million square feet of space, including 500,00 square feet of office area, 2.2 million square feet of light industrial and 5.2 million square feet of warehouse distribution. But this will be completed in phases.

The projected development schedule for the first five years includes 30,000 square feet for office, 50,000 square feet for light industrial, and 500,000 square feet for warehouse distribution for a total of 580,000 square feet. Construction of the planned Pollard Road extension, which will provide access to the area, will begin during 2010.

Development of the property will likely take place in years three through five after the road extension is completed and the rail terminal facility is built.

According to City Attorney John Murphy, completing the development in phases will allow the evaluation of its various impacts locally and regionally.

The city is working with the Central Florida Regional Development Council to address issues related to the development, including transportation, utilities and environmental concerns. The city commission will consider an agreement with the council during its meeting Feb. 8.

Dickey said the project would continue to develop over time.

"We don't have all the details or the specifics of what will happen on this site. That will happen over time," he said.

Richard Hood, assistant vice president for CSX Real Property, said this is the first step in the process.

"Now we look forward to the next step in creating the warehouse and industrial development supported by the Intermodal Terminal," Hood said. "This is what will generate jobs and opportunities because of its proximity to the Intermodal/Automotive Terminal."

According to City Manager Dale Smith, the city entered into a contract in early 2007 to sell 1,200 acres to Evansville Railroad, a subsidiary of CSX. They closed on the sale on the 318 acres for the Intermodal Terminal but the city still owns the 932 acres intended for the industrial park.

The planning commission will hold a public hearing March 2 about the land use change. On March 22, the city commission will consider the issue and hold a public hearing.

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