Originally created 06/26/02

BMW plans parts center for Jacksonville



The new BMW distribution center, which will create up to 50 jobs, will provide parts for dealers in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two weeks after the Jacksonville City Council approved an incentives package for BMW of North America, the company announced plans Monday to build a $12 million parts distribution center in the Westside Industrial Park.

The 136,000-square-foot center is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The project will be BMW's fourth regional distribution center in the United States.

A Nashville, Tenn., logistics company, Ozburn Hessey, will operate the center, and most of the workers will be employees of that company, BMW said. BMW would not say how much the jobs will pay.

"The Southeast part of the United States continues to be a strong market for BMW Group," Hans Duenzl, BMW's vice president of after sales and engineering, said in a news release. "With approximately 1.4 million BMWs on the road now ... we are ready to expand our parts-logistics capabilities."

Kirk Wendland, the executive director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, said landing a company of BMW's stature gives the city more credibility when marketing to other companies.

"Showing them a name brand like BMW is always nice," he said.

BMW spokeswoman Martha McKinley said Jacksonville's quality work force and the incentives package were factors in the decision but the incentives "tipped the scales."

On June 11, the council voted 16-0 to approve a package of two grants totaling $575,000 for BMW. The grants include $325,000 to be paid over 10 years and a $250,000 state transportation fund grant for road improvements, pending an agreement with the state.

Pattillo Construction Corp., the developer of the industrial park, has applied for a permit to build the distribution center at 8558 Westside Industrial Drive. The building can be expanded to 200,000 square feet.

Pattillo had been preparing the site in anticipation of Monday's announcement.

Distribution centers and automotive-parts companies are among the industries being targeted by Jacksonville economic development officials. Last week, Italy's C.F. Gomma, a maker of vehicle brake hoses, announced that it was moving its U.S. headquarters and assembly plant from Indiana to Jacksonville.

The move would initially create 250 jobs, 125 of which would be assembly positions.

Gomma considered other Southeastern locations, but company officials said they chose Jacksonville because of its large labor supply and port facilities. Jacksonville assembly workers will start at $6.50 an hour. Union workers in Indiana start at $8.50 an hour.