Laney & Duke Leaving Imeson Tenant at Northside Distribution Center Will Be Difficult to Replace

Article excerpt

A Northside distribution center for Hanes clothing products is on the verge of being shut down, an official for the popular underwear maker said yesterday.

The center, which ships sweatshirts, sweatpants and T-shirts to stores throughout the Southeast, takes up most of the space at the massive 1.7 million square-foot Imeson Center. Laney & Duke Terminal Warehouse Co. Inc., which leases most of the space at the building and has a contract with Hanes to provide the distribution services and employees, will move out of the warehouse by Dec. 31, according to the building's owner, Tampa-based Excal Enterprises Inc.

It was unclear yesterday whether any jobs would be lost. A Hanes spokeswoman said that was up to the contract employer, Laney & Duke, and Laney & Duke President Tad Duke did not return messages left for him yesterday at his office.

Officials for Hanes, a subsidiary of the Sara Lee Corp., said the decision to leave Jacksonville stems from a cost-cutting plan that includes combining certain distribution centers.

"It's not a negative on the Jacksonville market," said Peggy Carter, a Sara Lee spokeswoman. "We think its an excellent market."

Laney & Duke is constructing another 360,000-square-foot Northside warehouse for a different Hanes distribution operation. But Laney & Duke had not previously said it would vacate its Imeson facility, and it is not clear what will happen to the Imeson distribution operations. The warehouse company has filed plans to expand the new building by another 100,000 square feet, but that is a fraction of the size of Imeson.

Excal officials said that Laney & Duke leases 1.4 million square feet at Imeson. The loss will put a major dent in Excal's business if it can't fill the space.

Excal is a publicly-traded company that also operates a sports licensing company, but the Imeson Center has been its main business.

The Imeson building has two other tenants: Aetna Inc., which leases 138,998 square feet, and America Online, which leases 92,340 square feet. …

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