Greenwood approves incentives for potential $80M Amazon project

The mysterious company that is considering building an $80 million distribution facility in Greenwood and creating 1,250 full-time jobs was revealed Monday night during a city council meeting.

An official from Amazon.com Inc. said the online retail giant is only a few weeks away from deciding where to locate what the company calls a “Receive Center.”

Ryan Wilson, manager of economic development at Amazon, told the council that Amazon has only a handful of Receive Centers around the country. The centers are used to package incoming products for shipment to fulfillment centers.

“Think of them as fulfillment centers for fulfillment centers,” Wilson told the council shortly before it voted 7-1 to approve two tax abatement proposals for the company.

Economic development officials had kept the name of the company secret until revealing it publicly Monday night. Previously, the proposed development had been referred to only as “Project Brutus.”

Amazon sought real property and personal property tax abatements to help offset the costs of constructing and equipping a 615,440-square-foot building on a 75-acre site along Allen Road, between Graham and Collins roads, near Interstate 65.

The site is the same one FedEx Corp. had designated for a $259 million distribution center that would have employed 450 workers, but those plans were called off in March after FedEx said capacity increases elsewhere in its network made the new facility unnecessary.

Amazon plans to spend $45 million on the building and another $35 million to equip the facility with conveyor systems, parcel sorters, racking systems, material-handling equipment and IT scanning and picking equipment.

The facility could be operational as soon as next summer and running with full employment by the end of 2021.

The company plans to employ full-time parcel and fulfillment laborers and administration and management personnel. Average annual wages would be $14.65 per hour plus full benefits.

Councilman Bruce Armstrong provided the only dissenting vote over concern for the relatively low wage level of the jobs being created.

The 10-year real property tax abatement would save the company slightly less than $5 million over the abatement period. Amazon would still pay more than $5 million in real property taxes over that time frame.

The site would only generate only about $466,000 in property taxes over the next 10 years if it remains undeveloped.

The 10-year personal property abatement, if approved, would save the company an additional $2 million. Amazon would still pay about $1.4 million in personal property taxes over that period.

Development of the project will require the widening of Graham and Collins roads. Amazon plans to pick up the tab for those projects, according to Wilson.

The build-to-suit facility will be developed and owned by the property owner, Indianapolis-based Scannell Properties, which will lease it to Amazon.

Wilson said the lease would be longer than the abatement period but he wasn’t specific about the exact length of the lease.

He said other sites are in the running for the center. A final decision should be announced in early October, he said.

Amazon has invested more than $6 billion in Indiana since 2011 and has about 8,500 full-time employees in the state. The company operates seven fulfillment or sorting facilities in Indiana, plus a Prime Now hub.

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