November 14, 2016 9:00 AM, EST
UPS to Spend $196 Million on Florida Facility
Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News
United Parcel Service announced plans Nov. 11 to invest $196 million in its ground package hub in Jacksonville, Florida.

The expansion will add more than 260,000 square feet to UPS’ 560,000-square-foot building along with advanced technology and operations automation.

When completed in the fall of 2019, capacity will increase by one-third to more than 80,000 packages processed per hour.

The company has committed to adding 10 more employees to the more than 1,650 full- and part-time workers at both the hub and its adjacent four package centers, company spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said. That’s not a large number considering the investment, but she said that most of what’s added will be automated.

Every UPS ground package that comes in or out of Florida goes through that building, she said, whether by truck or rail. Those that are going elsewhere in the state are shipped out on tractor-trailers. Those that are delivered in the Jacksonville area go out in the familiar brown trucks that the company refers to as “package cars.”

The expansion will create space for 46 more of those.

The expansion recently went through Jacksonville City Council, where it was only referred to as Project Mountain. Council approved up to $4.3 million in property tax rebates if UPS invested at least $100 million and added 10 new employees with an average salary of $50,675 plus benefits.

Even though the job growth is not significant, Aaron Bowman, senior vice president of business development for JAXUSA Partnership, said, the expansion is.

“It’s pretty exciting to me on several fronts,” he said. “It’s already the fourth-largest processing UPS facility in the country, and the Southeast is growing faster than other areas. We competed with several other cities for the expansion, and apparently UPS liked what they saw here.”

With the UPS expansion and with Amazon building a distribution center in North Jacksonville that will hire about 1,500 people, Jacksonville is becoming more of a logistics center than it was a year ago, he said.

“You’re talking about companies that are world-known,” Bowman said. “A lot of people watch what they’re doing, and a lot of companies are going to say ‘They chose Jacksonville to build Amazon, they chose Jacksonville to expand UPS. What’s going on there that we don’t know about?”

Rosenberg said that while Amazon is a large customer, UPS’ business is growing in all directions and that Amazon was far from the only reason for the expansion.

On Nov. 10, UPS announced plans to invest in excess of $400 million to build  regional package sorting hub on the west side of Atlanta. The hub will be the third-largest processing facility in the company’s U.S. network.

The project is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2018 with 1,250 employees.

The largest UPS hub in the country is in Chicago and its 1.5 million square feet, almost twice the size of Jacksonville’s after the expansion.

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