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FIRST ON 3: FedEx clearing land for Chattanooga distribution center

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Work is underway on the FedEx Distribution Center. photo Work is underway on the FedEx Distribution Center. photo
A rendering of the FedEx Distribution Facility in Chattanooga. A rendering of the FedEx Distribution Facility in Chattanooga.

UPDATE: Channel 3 has confirmed that worldwide overnight shipping company FedEx has begun clearing land near the Interstate 75 and Apison Pike intersection.

Fedex Ground has entered into a lease agreement for the distribution center that will be more than 235,000 square feet when it is completed in August 2017, according to FedEx spokesman Meredith Heighington Miller.

Nearly 40 acres of land are being cleared to make way for the distribution center. A combination of commercial and residential lots make up most of the parcel.

Sources close to the project tell Channel 3 the facility will be a FedEx distribution center, and should be completed within 11 months after the land disturbing and building permit is issued.

Saad Development Corporation is listed as the project developer. The land clearing contract is valued at 3,000,000 dollars.

Channel 3 reached out to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's office for comment. A spokesperson, Marissa Bell, for Berke said the Mayor's office was unaware of the land clearing in process.

Bell referred Channel 3 to the land development paperwork that we brought to her attention. 

FedEx says the facility's exact staffing needs have yet to be determined, but a mix of full- and part-time employees will work there. They also plan to add to the workforce a needed to meet demand.

The site was chosen because of its ease of access to major highways, proximity to customers' distribution centers and a strong local community workforce for recruiting employees. 

FedEx says the new distribution center is part of a nationwide network expansion to boost daily package volume capacity and further enhance the speed and service capabilities of the FedEx Ground network. 

Eleven new hubs have been opened since 2005, which feature advanced material-handling systems and expanded or relocated more than 500 local facilities.

Additionally,  network enhancements have resulted in faster ground service delivery by one day or more in more than two-thirds of the United States. 

PREVIOUS STORY: Channel 3 has learned that negotiations are underway for FedEx to add a facility in Chattanooga near Enterprise South.

Enterprise South is home to Volkswagen Chattanooga as well as an Amazon Fulfillment Center.

"A lease isn't yet in place," said Connie Avery with FedEx Media Relations.

Avery said she wasn't able to answer Channel 3's questions about job opportunities or the size of the potential facility at this time, referring us to a written statement.

“FedEx continuously evaluates the needs for additional facilities and routinely talks with real estate agents, developers and government officials," the statement read. 

"As a matter of policy, FedEx does not publicly discuss specifics of a project until all the details have been finalized.”

Frederick Smith, FedEx Chairman and CEO, visited Chattanooga in August and spoke to the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce,.

Smith's keynote was titled "What's Happening in the Global Marketplace", according to the chamber's website. 

“Our Annual Meeting celebrates a remarkable year for both economic development and growth of our membership even as we redouble our efforts in the new operating year toward other initiatives still before us,” Bill Kilbride said in the release. 

“We continue to focus on the value of Chamber membership just as our efforts also center on supporting economic development through workforce development and education, inclusion and diversity and our region’s overall growth.”

"There is no connection," said Sybil Topel, Vice President of Communications for the chamber, when asked if Smith's appearance at the event coincides with negotiations.

"We will direct any further questions to FedEx," Topel continued in an email to Channel 3.

"We cannot comment on any possible negotiations," said Mike Dunne, Communications Manager for Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

FedEx, which is a $47 billion company headquartered in Memphis, provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. 

Hamilton County and the state of Tennessee typically handle such negotiations as tax breaks, land lease options and incentives are part of the process.

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