November 4, 2019
(Courtesy: JAX Daily Record)
Load King Manufacturing Co. wants to move forward with an expansion that could add 100,000 square feet of distribution and manufacturing space.
Jacksonville-based Load King has contracted to buy land from the city for the project next to its Rail Yard District headquarters and manufacturing plant west of Downtown.
The Rogers Towers law firm asked JEA, the city’s utility, to determine the availability of service at 1357 W. Beaver St., Load King’s facility, for an addition of 100,000 square feet of light manufacturing space.
Load King owns 8.26 acres at that address. Records show about 204,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution space in four buildings constructed since 1919.
Load King designs, fabricates, delivers and installs retail store, supermarket and restaurant interiors, equipment and fixtures throughout the United States.
Rogers Towers also applied to the Jacksonville Planning and Development Department to rezone 0.89 acres at 1314 W. Union St., at southwest Union Street and Myrtle Avenue North, next to Load King.
The site would be rezoned from Public Facilities and Buildings-1 to Industrial Light.
The city will relocate a Head Start facility on the site to a new location, according to the zoning application. Load King will contribute $70,000 to the city to assist with that move.
City Council enacted Ordinance 2019-135-E on May 28 that allows the city to sell two parcels totaling 1.96 acres at Union Street and Myrtle Avenue to Load King for $324,000, the appraised value of the property.
The legislation says Load King intends to purchase and redevelop the property to construct new warehousing and shipping facilities, including a new cross-dock shipping facility that will allow Load King to expand its commercial kitchen resale division, resulting in additional jobs at the Load King facility.
The legislation, introduced by District 9 Council member Garrett Dennis, says the proposal will result in additional jobs but did not say how many people Load King employs or intends to add.
A 2015 Facebook post by then-mayoral candidate Lenny Curry said Load King employed at least 150 people.
Load King is privately held. It says on its website it has completed more than 8,500 projects nationwide.
Customers include Al’s Pizza, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Starbucks. Nonretail customers include Baptist Health.
The website says the company started in 1958 when James Merrill Chupp retired from Winn-Dixie and started S.E. Sales Co., an equipment consolidator servicing the supermarket industry.
It continues to be led by the Chupp family.
A 2015 Daily Record report said the company continues to operate out of its initial building, a 1919 structure renovated for its use.
The property was Winn-Dixie’s headquarters before it moved further west. It expanded to more than 200,000 square feet of production space by the time Load King moved in.
The report said records showed the company also has more space nearby.
Products include counters, shelving systems, sinks and displays. The LK Industries division provides turnkey store packages, including designs, equipment, fixtures, millwork and other services.