Gov: Amazon 'largest jobs commitment' in Tennessee history

Associated Press • Nov 13, 2018 at 2:27 PM

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday said an Amazon operations hub expected to create 5,000 jobs in Tennessee will be “the single largest jobs commitment made by a company in Tennessee’s history.”

Amazon will invest $230 million-plus to locate its Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville Yards, a 15-acre (6-hectare), mixed-use downtown development. Holly Sullivan of Amazon Public Policy says Nashville will become the eastern U.S. hub for its retail operations division.

Amazon made the Nashville announcement the same day it revealed it would split its much-anticipated second headquarters between New York and Arlington, Virginia.

“This is a game changer for Tennessee. The ripple effect of Amazon’s decision to invest $230 million in our state and create 5,000 high-paying jobs in downtown Nashville will be felt for years to come,” Haslam said in a statement.

Amazon’s new 1 million square-foot Nashville office space will host tech and management functions, including customer fulfillment, customer service, transportation, and supply chain.

Amazon says it will receive up to $102 million in performance-based incentives based on the creation of 5,000 jobs with an average wage exceeding $150,000 in Nashville.

The incentives includes a cash grant for capital expenditures from the state of $65 million based on the company creating 5,000 jobs over the next seven years — equivalent to $13,000 per job.

Meanwhile, Nashville has agreed to give up to a $15 million cash grant based on each job created within the same timeframe. The annual payment from the city, however, will be dependent on the actual number of employees added.

Finally, Amazon will receive a job tax credit to offset 50 percent of Tennessee’s franchise and excise taxes for seven year based on $4,500 per job over the next seven years — worth about $21.7 million.

In a letter sent to Amazon on Nov. 2, Nashville Mayor David Briley estimated it would take two months for the city’s incentives to be approved by the Metropolitan Council, the Industrial Development Board and legislative body in Davidson County.

The incentive deal was dubbed “Project Gardendale,” according to documents provided by Amazon.

“It will be imperative that we all clearly communicate the benefits of Project Gardendale to the council and IDB,” Briley wrote in the Nov. 2 letter to Amazon.

The state says Amazon currently has six Tennessee facilities employing more than 6,500 people.

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