Amazon.com considering Hamilton, Bradley for 1,400 jobs
By Rich Sobolewski, Director of Interactive Content
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – The Chattanooga City Council will meet on Tuesday to discuss tax incentives to lure amazon.com to Enterprise South. State and local officials confirmed to Channel 3 Eyewitness News on Monday that they have been in talks to bring Washington-based Amazon.com to the Chattanooga area.
Governor Phil Bredesen and the state Economic and Community Development Commissioner, Matt Kisber, have confirmed the state of Tennessee is in discussions with Seattle-based Amazon.com, Inc about locating two fulfillment centers in Tennessee.
The two projects would represent a combined investment of more than $164 million dollars to create more than two million square feet of distribution space and up to 1,400 new jobs over a period of years in the two counties.
The details released from the governor indicate that Amazon.com is the proposed development known as "Project Infinity."
"We are working diligently with Amazon.com officials to work through outstanding issues on this project," said Governor Bredesen in a news release to Channel 3 Eyewitness News.
"It is my hope that we can bring these discussions to a successful resolution and create a large number of jobs for the people of Tennessee."
The online retailer is planning twin distribution centers in the Chattanooga metro area.
One location is planned for the Enterprise South Industrial Park, while the other is planned for an undeveloped site in Bradley County.
"There has been lots of speculation in the media in recent weeks about who we might be working with on this project," said Commissioner Kisber. "Because of the need to move forward at the local level on PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of tax) agreements in multiple communities, we felt it was important at this time for policy makers at the state and local level to know who we're in discussions with."
All parties involved in the negotiations have pointed out a number of procedural steps must be completed involving the state, the county commissions and the local city councils before the project is a "go", the release stated.
"This is not a done deal," Mayor Littlefield said in the release. "In addition to the PILOT agreements, there are a number of other issues to work through at the state and local level, but we have high hopes of firming up Amazon's investment in the next few weeks."
"Amazon would make a great addition to our local economy," said Mayor Ramsey. "This is a complex project. We couldn't have gotten this far without Hamilton County, Bradley County, the city of Chattanooga and the respective chambers from both communities working together to make this much progress in a short period of time. We'll keep working together to make sure the opportunity becomes a reality for our citizens."
"Even though this is not yet a done deal, Bradley County is taking the necessary steps to finalize its local commitment to the company," said Gary Davis, mayor, Bradley County.
"I am very pleased the county commission decided in workshop session to place the proposed PILOT agreement, industrial access authorization and the FastTrack grant authorization on the consent agenda for next Monday's meeting. To my knowledge, this is the first PILOT agreement ever placed on the consent portion of the agenda and it clearly reflects the level of cooperation, understanding, and trust we have all worked hard to establish between the Administration, the Bradley County Commission, and the Industrial Development Board."
"Amazon's presence will mean important opportunities for good jobs," said Ross Tarver, chairman, Bradley/Cleveland Industrial Board. "A project this far-reaching has many components and takes time to finalize. We could not have gotten to this point without a dedicated and focused regional team working together and our city, county, chamber and state are to be commended.
"The Amazon project has come together very rapidly over the past couple of months," said Trevor Hamilton, vice president, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. "The company has a very ambitious construction timeline, so reaching resolution on the remaining issues is very important if we're to be successful in winning this project."
Tuesday, November 30- Chattanooga City Council to discuss tax incentives.
Wednesday, December 1- Hamilton County Commission to discuss tax incentives.
Monday, December 6- Bradley County Commission to discuss tax incentives.