The St. Joe Company announced Tuesday that it will lease 20 acres of its former paper mill site in Port St. Joe, Fla., to Eastern Shipbuilding Group.
ESG, based in Panama City, Fla., plans to expand its existing shipbuilding, vessel construction and repair and industrial steel fabrication operations to Port St. Joe. ESG will continue operating its yards in Panama City and Allanton, Fla. ESG’s new Port St. Joe facility is immediately adjacent to one of only 14 state-authorized deepwater ports in Florida. The facility will enable ESG to meet its current and emerging vessel contracts and has the potential to create many new jobs in Port St. Joe. In order to meet these contracts, ESG is already in the process of hiring 500 new employees who will join ESG’s current workforce.
Some of ESG’s existing contracts include eight 302’ PSVs for Hornbeck Offshore Services that will be delivered through the fall of 2014, and four OSVs for Harvey Gulf International Marine scheduled for delivery through May 2013.
“The hard and diligent work of our current workforce has earned Eastern Shipbuilding Group the manufacturing contracts that necessitate our expansion to Port St. Joe,” said Brian D’Isernia, ESG’s president.
“Congratulations to Eastern Shipbuilding Group and The St. Joe Company on their combined efforts and confidence in taking this bold step which solidifies new opportunities for our state’s economy, and specifically our citizens across the Panhandle,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement. “Efforts like this are part of the success we are seeing in Florida to create a business climate that creates jobs, and I commend Eastern Shipbuilding’s commitment to our great state.”
St. Joe has been working with the Port St. Joe Port Authority to reposition the area for port-related industrial and commercial activities. The former paper mill site is approximately 180 acres and offers approximately 2,000 linear feet of bulkhead, which can be expanded. The port and the new facility are adjacent to a federally authorized turning basin and navigational channel.
Additionally, Eastern’s Port St. Joe facility has access to nearly 80 miles of railway that links Port St. Joe to other railway systems, connecting to Atlanta, New York, Chicago and other cities.
The St. Joe Company is a WaterSound, Fla.-based real estate developer and manager. The company owns approximately 573,000 acres of land concentrated primarily in Northwest Florida and has significant residential and commercial land-use entitlements in hand or in process. The majority of land not under development is used for the growing and selling of timber or is available for sale.
Eastern Shipbuilding, a shipbuilding and marine repair company specializing in commercial steel and aluminum vessel construction and repair, also engages in industrial steel fabrication. ESG has three modern shipbuilding yards located in Bay County, Fla.