KeHE Distributors Breaks Ground on $88.5 Million Facility

KeHE Distributors Breaks Ground on $88.5 Million Facility

November may not be an optimal time for planting, but KeHE Distributors turned over some dirt earlier this month with a groundbreaking ceremony for a more than 530,000-square foot facility on Deerpark Boulevard in Elkton, according to a media release.

St. Johns County Commissioner Sarah Arnold summed up the significance of the event in her remarks at the ceremony.

“We are breaking ground on history,” she said according to the release. “Today marks a benchmark moment in the county, establishing a new level of economic development and growth. We are keeping a thriving and growing corporation here in the county. KeHE has a long history as an organic food distributor here in St. Johns County, but most importantly, they are a valued member of our community.”

James McGill, president and principal of Stotan Industrial, the Chicago-based developer of the project for KeHE expressed his gratitude at the opportunity.

“We were fortunate to be selected as the developer of KeHE’s new Southeast regional headquarters,” he said, in the release. “KeHE’s strong growth in the Southeast resulted in the need for a larger and more modern facility to handle this growth and customer requirements. All of us at Stotan Industrial are very excited to be part of this project and the journey.”

KeHE is the largest distributor of natural, organic, specialty, and fresh products to more than 31,000 natural food stores, chain and independent grocery stores, e-commerce retailers, and other specialty product retailers throughout North America, according to the release. KeHE will utilize the property as one of its Southeast distribution centers, which will include 29,887 square feet of office space for employees, 390,000 square feet of dry warehouse, and 105,000 square feet of cooler/freezer space. The facility will serve several of KeHE’s key retail partners throughout parts of the Southeast.

The total value of the land and equipment is assessed at more than $88.5 million. KeHE will retain 345 jobs and add another 100 jobs with the new facility, with a focus on hiring residents of St. Johns County, the release states. Additionally, the development will improve safety at the intersection of State Road 207 and Deerpark Boulevard, as a new traffic signal plan will be implemented as part of the county’s incentive agreement.

“We thought, at all costs, we have to keep them here,” County Administrator Joy Andrews said in the release. “Their employees are family and they are putting food on the table for our families. We went through a number of sites to try to find the right solution for them, where there is adequate space, where there is room for future growth, and where there will not be a compatibility issue for the community around them. We found the perfect spot.”