The following article originally appeared in the Jax Daily Record on December 27, 2022. To view the original click here.
Additional media coverage of this project is in the Florida Times-Union; click here to read the January 2, 2023 article.
Florida Community Loan Fund provided financing and New Markets Tax Credit allocation for Feeding Northeast Florida’s expansion. Learn more about FCLF and Feeding NE Florida here.
Feeding Northeast Florida investing $20 million in Northwest Jacksonville
The nonprofit food bank is renovating a former factory into a consolidated operation for its services.
by: Karen Brune Mathis Editor
Feeding Northeast Florida, a food bank that serves Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties, is preparing to build-out a warehouse it bought a year ago in Northwest Jacksonville.
“It will be a perfect home for us,” said CEO Susan King. “We have been working all year on renovation plans and design and getting ready for permitting,” she said. King said Dec. 19 the project will be an investment of $18 million to $20 million.
The city is reviewing a permit application for The Conlan Co. of Jacksonville to renovate the building at 5245 Old Kings Road at an estimated cost of $9.02 million. Thomas Duke Architect is the architect. Codes-ABC Inc. is handling code compliance. King expects construction will start in January with completion in October, barring delays
Feeding NE Florida Support Corp., based at 1116 Edgewood Ave., Units D/E, paid $3.47 million for the Old Kings Road warehouse property Dec. 21, 2021. It bought the property from Old Kings Road Partners LLC of Atlanta. FCNMF 33 LLC, led by Florida Community Loan Fund Inc., of Orlando issued a $4.5 million mortgage.
Property records show two light manufacturing buildings on 6.3 acres. It is the former Kinco Ltd. window factory A 56,670-square-foot structure was built in 1956. A 65,820-square-foot building was developed in 1970. The plans show a 103,427-square-foot building, including a 2,481-square-foot office on the second floor. The second floor includes offices, including for the CEO.
Plans show climate-controlled storage, dry storage, receiving and processing, a freezer, a cooler, volunteer and public sorting and processing, and more. Notes say there will be an alteration of an existing 56,670-square-foot, two-story, mixed-use building. Work includes demolishing exterior adjacent structures, facade renovations and interior build-out. There also are plans for event space and flex space.
“It will more than double our capacity for food storage and consolidate our organization back into one location,” King said.
About the food bank
Feedingnefl.org says almost 90,000 pounds of food leave the existing facility daily for distribution, resulting in 73,000 meals. It says it serves 325 partnerships and programs such as food pantries, mobile pantries, health care clinics and meal programs. It says that in 2021, it distributed more than 26 million meals in the eight-county area. Top contributors were Publix, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Winn-Dixie and C&S Wholesale. The site is near Interstate 10, 95 and 295 to reach the eight counties served.
King said the renovated location will separate operations from the volunteer and agency areas, provide a processing center so the nonprofit can repackage large quantities, and include event space and an educational center for the community and volunteers. She said it allows for expansion. The site also provides space to store its trucks and equipment safely.
Feeding Northeast Florida owns most of its trucks but also rents. The fleet comprises 12 26-foot box trucks, two tractor-trailers and two mobile food pantries with another on the way. The organization now owns a 47,017-square-foot cold-storage warehouse built in 1961 at 1814 Industrial Blvd. and leases space in 1116 Edgewood Ave. N. Both properties are in Northwest Jacksonville, about 3 miles from the new site.
King said Feeding Northeast Florida will sell the Industrial Boulevard property and remain there under a sale-leaseback until the new location is completed. Remaining in Northwest Jacksonville is important, she said. “It’s a neighborhood that will benefit significantly from this investment,” King said. She said the group had looked for a site for a long time. “It is an old funny building, but once renovated, it will be a gem in that community and it will meet all of our needs.”
There also will be sustainability elements such as a generator to support the cooler and freezer, a rooftop solar array and a biodigester system to convert organic waste into energy.
Feeding Northeast Florida embarked on a $20 million capital campaign in spring 2022 that it calls a "comprehensive" campaign because it will support the building renovation costs, the sustainability elements and operational needs as well as help the agencies it serves, King said. The Dec. 31, 2021, year-end audit of Regional Food Bank of Northeast Florida Inc., which does business as Feeding Northeast Florida, and Feeding NE Florida Support Corp. stated that Feeding Northeast Florida was organized March 5, 2014, to serve as a clearinghouse to collect, store and redistribute surplus food to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that operate on-site or emergency food distribution services. Donors, such as processors, wholesalers, distributors, restaurants and resorts, provide usable food that is not saleable because the food has been overproduced, discontinued or will soon be out-of-date, it said.
Feeding NE Florida Support Corp. was organized Dec. 3, 2021, to serve as a real estate holding company of the property at 5245 Old Kings Road. It was formed as a requirement of the New Markets Tax Credit Program, whose purpose is to attract private capital by allowing investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in low-income communities. The audit says that on March 14, 2022, the organization agreed to a $4.03 million loan with the Florida Community Loan Fund Inc. to finance renovation costs of the Old Kings Road property. It also entered into a three-year bridge loan with the fund for $2.97 million. On March 15, 2022, it entered into a New Markets Tax Credit transaction that created an investment fund for a Qualified Equity Investment of $14 million.
King said the $20 million investment into the project includes reserves used to buy the property in December 2021; proceeds from the sale of the Industrial Boulevard property; the loan fund loan; the New Markets Tax Credit; and the capital campaign. She said Feeding Northeast Florida has about 60 employees and is adding 15 positions from a SNAP Education Grant.