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Southeast Toyota agrees to remain at JAXPORT for at least 25 years

A aerial view of JAXPORT.

Major changes are coming to JAXPORT, where Southeast Toyota Distributors has signed a $180 million agreement to remain for at least 25 more years.

The Jacksonville Port Authority Board on Monday approved the long-term lease and relocation agreement. Southeast Toyota Distributors will move from its current facility at Talleyrand Marine Terminal to an 88-acre property at Blount Island Marine Terminal.

Various Toyota and Lexus vehicles will be processed at the facility.

“The fact that we can extend our partnership and be able to grow here in Jacksonville into the future is very exciting for our company — not only for our company but for our associates,” said Casey Gunnell, group senior vice president for Southeast Toyota Distributors.

The company has operated at JAXPORT for more than 50 years and is one of the port’s longest-standing tenants.

In 2021, Southeast Toyota Distributors moved about 157,000 vehicles through JAXPORT, making it one of the busiest auto shipping ports on the East Coast. The company’s Jacksonville operations support more than 800 jobs, including processing, parts and distribution, and technical support and training.

With an investment of $16.5 million by Southeast Toyota Distributors along with a $16.5 million grant from the state Department of Transportation, there are plans to modernize the terminal.

Upgrades will include two state-of-the-art processing buildings and work areas totaling more than 250,000 square feet, as well as the addition of new on-site rail connections and truck loading areas. The company will remain at its current location until construction on the new facility is complete in late 2024.

The agreement is for 25 years with three five-year renewal options.

Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA Partnership, said the relocation is a major milestone for the region.

“People don’t understand the economic impact that JAXPORT has on this particular region just from meaningful gainful employment for all walks of life in this entire region that’s tied to JAXPORT,” Wallace said.

JAXPORT is negotiating with another global vehicle manufacturer for use of the 50 acres that Southeast Toyota Distributors will vacate. The property offers a dedicated vehicle berth with a 200,000-square-foot auto processing facility.