Updated plans for land south of Orlando International Airport show Orlando's largest proposed industrial building would have more than 2.33 million square feet of storage area, an unparalleled size for this market -- and one sources say matches Amazon's newest fulfillment centers around the country.
First reported here on April 3, Atlanta-based developer Seefried Industrial Properties filed a Development Plan in late March with Orange County for a distribution center with an 855,000-square-foot footprint. The project would take 130 acres owned by an affiliate of Tavistock Development Company along Boggy Creek Road, south of the airport.
No tenant names were displayed on those plans from Seefried, which referred to it as "Project Mojo."
But a new traffic study for the project includes an updated site plan. On it, Seefried details the building would stand 51 feet, have a footprint of 855,000 square feet, and will use mezzanine floors to maximize the space for more than 2.33 million square feet of storage.
The building would be taller than any other warehouse in Greater Orlando. There is currently only one other building in the market taller than 36 feet; 40 feet is a typical cutoff point because going above it prompts fire code changes, and higher development cost.
Three sources with knowledge of Orlando's industrial market told GrowthSpotter on Monday they've heard Amazon is the prospective user, but that the deal isn't closed with Seefried and Tavistock.
Seefried develops industrial parks and build-to-suit warehouse facilities for clients across the country. It developed Amazon's distribution centers of more than 900,000 square feet in Ruskin (near Tampa), Nashville and Richmond.
Tavistock declined to comment for this story, and officials with Seefried did not respond to calls for comment.
Orange County Economic Development Administrator Eric Ushkowitz said Monday he knew "Project Mojo," but declined to comment on who the prospective tenant is, or if tax incentives have been requested from the county. With more than 2,500 planned parking spaces, the facility would be a major job creator.
Amazon already has two distribution centers in Central Florida of more than 1 million square feet, in Lakeland and Ruskin. In January, the company announced it would build a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Jacksonville, its second in that market.
But Amazon has located some of its newest fulfillment centers in close proximity to established ones in growth markets. Last August, the company said it would build a fourth distribution center in Illinois' Will County, which borders Chicago, supported by state tax incentives.
And in March, Amazon said it would invest $136 million to build a 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Katy, Texas, its 10th in that state, after getting the local county to offer a 50 percent tax rebate for the developed property over 20 years.
The world's largest online retailer has instituted innovative robotics systems in its largest fulfillment centers across the country. Its Kiva System, a highly efficient mechanized rack storage, commonly requires four 10-foot floors with three mezzanine levels and a high clearance of 40 feet, according to industrial case studies online.
In Baltimore, Duke Realty built a distribution center for Amazon in 2014 with a footprint of roughly 1 million square feet, but with a 50-foot ceiling that allows a three-level mezzanine structure -- bringing total usable square footage to 2.4 million.
"I've never seen that amount of mezzanine multi-story space proposed here, that would definitely be unique in our market and not many companies other than Amazon are set up to do that," said David Murphy, senior vice president specializing in industrial at CBRE Orlando, who claimed no knowledge of the deal. "But we are seeing new sorting infrastructure going into these buildings nowadays, and the pool of users who are commanding up to 800,000 square feet is growing."
Other users of a distribution center this size could be Walmart, FedEx and UPS. But none have shown a demand for mezzanine space and 50-foot heights like Amazon.
Walmart's Florida e-commerce growth prompted a 2015 investment in Davenport of two new distribution centers totaling close to 2 million square feet. FedEx is known to have been the confidential client behind Scannell Properties' 2016 bid to develop 42 acres west of the airport, but that was for a 352,000-square-foot warehouse, and the contract was dropped this year.
For the South Orlando project, Tavistock's land-owner affiliate has title insurance on the property that details a planned sale to an unnamed buyer. That proposed insurance amount is $26 million, which when divided by 130 acres that may be sold reflects $200,000 per acre, a price in line with recent industrial land sales in the market.
Amazon began increasing its direct footprint in Orlando last year, when in May 2016 the company confirmed its lease of 100,000 square feet of warehouse space near the tourism corridor, which has refrigerated storage and serves its "Prime Now" one- and two-hour delivery service.
Multi-story industrial warehouse development is also an area of innovation that is prompting new buildings taller than 50 feet.
In Seattle, Prologis is developing the Georgetown Crossroads, a three-story, 590,000-square-foot industrial warehouse that will be the first of its kind in the United States. The building will have truck ramps leading to loading docks on the second level, and a third floor served via forklift-accessible freight elevators for lighter-scale goods. The first two floors of that building would total a 52-foot clear height.