Plum Creek Timber Co., of Seattle, and New York’s Rockefeller Group have signed a memorandum of understanding “to evaluate and pursue joint venture development projects” on 4,722 acres of land in the U.S. Southeast, the companies announced Thursday. Plans for the property, which is owned by Plum Creek, include manufacturing and distribution facilities, inland ports and office buildings.
The agreement covers two large tracts of land: about 2,600 acres near Lake City, in Columbia County, Fla., and about 2,122 acres near Dublin, in Laurens County, Ga.
A spokesperson for Plum Creek was unavailable for comment, but according to a white paper from Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., the inland port concept has been expanding beyond central hubs such as Chicago, Kansas City and Memphis. An inland port is characterized by, among other aspects, a direct/dedicated connection via a Class I railroad to a U.S. seaport and often Free Trade Zone status. Although there are hundreds of intermodal terminals in the United States, fewer than a dozen, according to an earlier JLL report from 2011, would be considered true, significant inland ports.
The more recent report tags as noteworthy three future inland ports, including the 4,000-acre Florida Inland Port in St. Lucie County, on the state’s east coast about midway between Orlando and Miami.
Lake City is in far northern Florida, about midway between Jacksonville to the east and the Gulf Coast at Apalachee Bay to the west, and essentially at the intersection of I-10 and I-75. The Port of Jacksonville, with three intermodal/container terminals, handled more than 923,000 TEUs in 2012 and is served by CSX, Norfolk Southern and Florida East Coast Railway.
Dublin is on I-16, roughly 75 miles east-southeast of Macon and 150 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Plum Creek and Rockefeller Group reportedly have also agreed to review other parcels owned by the Seattle company for possible future development. Plum Creek is one of the nation’s largest landowners, with about 6.4 million acres of timberland.
“As a large landowner, we recognize that a portion of our lands are well suited for commercial development,” said Rick Holley, its president & CEO, in a release. “During this important stage of economic recovery, the time is right to collaborate with The Rockefeller Group on this forward-looking venture.”