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Amazon Plans Distribution Centers in Chattanooga

Amazon.com Inc. will build two new distribution centers in Chattanooga and neighboring Bradley County. According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Seattle-based online company plans to spend up to $139 million on the projects that will create up to 1,400 jobs in the next three years, in addition to hundreds of other peak season positions.

Amazon.com’s North American Operations vice president Dave Clark said in the statement that the new facilities in Tennessee will allow the Seattle-based online company to “serve customers more quickly and efficiently.”

The distribution centers are expected to be in operation before the 2011 holiday season at Enterprise South Industrial Park in Chattanooga and on State Route 308 in Bradley County.

Attracting Amazon was a team effort from jurisdictions representing Cleveland, Chattanooga, Bradley County, Hamilton County, the chambers of commerce in both Cleveland and Chattanooga, and the state of Tennessee, including the Office of Economic and Community Development and Gov. Phil Bredesen.

In addition to state funding for roads and other infrastructure upgrades, Amazon.com negotiated local tax incentives for both locations.

In Chattanooga, the company’s local property tax abatement totals about $10 million over 11 years, while Amazon.com has committed to investing about $91 million and spending about $488 million in payroll.

“Amazon.com’s investment is good for the people of our region not only because it represents new jobs, but also because it is a major investment by a world-class company that stretches across county lines,” Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said in the statement.

In Bradley County, Amazon.com is receiving a 50 percent property tax abatement for 10 years that totals about $2.4 million while making a $48 million investment. With 226 full-time employees and hundreds more seasonally, the new center is expected to generate an annual payroll of about $10.3 million.

Doug Berry, the Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce vice president for economic development, said there will be “about $800,000 a year of tax gain from this operation.”

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland pointed out that although the Amazon.com fulfillment center in Bradley County will be located outside the Cleveland city limits, the residents of Cleveland will still benefit along with all residents of the county.

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