Driven by the 2005 BRAC process and the potential for mission, installation, and personnel downsizing and/or losses, the State of Florida applied for, and received, an Advance Planning Grant (APG) from the Department of Defense to create an Economic Diversification Plan for Jacksonville, Florida and contracted with AngelouEconomics to develop the plan.

Jacksonville has a tremendous business attraction asset in Cecil Field, a closed Naval Air Base that has been slated for industrial and commercial redevelopment. Since Cecil Field’s closure, the City of Jacksonville has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the infrastructure and redevelop the property into a premier mixed-use development, Cecil Commerce Center. Based on this asset, AE recommended a primary target industry of distribution and logistics and developed a marketing strategy for increasing the presence of distribution and logistics companies and regional headquarters at Cecil Commerce Park.

Over 17,000 acres are currently under redevelopment at Cecil Commerce Park; the center currently has 35 tenants and almost 2,500 employees. The largest employers include NADEP, Florida Army National Guard, Logistics Services International, Flightstar, and Boeing.

Bridgestone/Firestone built a 1 million square foot distribution facility at the park, and Florida Community College-Jacksonville broke ground on a satellite campus. Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS), a joint venture between Alenia North America, Inc., Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, also announced intentions to use Cecil as the final assembly and delivery center for its C-27J multi-mission cargo aircraft.