01STOCK_AMAZON

BELOIT

Online retail giant Amazon is coming to Beloit, and stakeholders want to see initial construction start next week on an expansive distribution center in the city’s Gateway Business Park.

The Beloit City Council approved a development agreement Monday with Atlanta-based Seefried Industrial Properties, a build-to-suit development firm that has worked with Amazon on past projects.

The Beloit project calls for a 1 million-square-foot distribution center on an 80-acre site along Gateway Boulevard, according to an announcement Monday at an executive committee meeting of the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. and later at the council meeting.

The site is located by the Colley Road and Gateway Boulevard intersection, just east of the Staples Order Fulfillment Center.

Construction is expected to be completed by September 2020. Preliminary grading likely will start Tuesday at the four-parcel property the local economic development group sold to Seefried before Monday’s council meeting.

“We are thrilled about the opportunities this development will provide our community and beyond,” said Andrew Janke, executive director of the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp.

Amazon’s move to Beloit comes on the heels of other major Wisconsin projects in Kenosha and Oak Creek. The Oak Creek Amazon facility is scheduled to open in early 2020.

The Kenosha center has generated 3,000 jobs since opening in 2014, and Oak Creek is expected to create 1,500 jobs, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

In Oak Creek, Amazon committed $200 million in real and personal property, with annual gross wages of $40 million expected by the end of 2021, according to economic impact figures for the project.

“This proposed development would provide our community with increased property value, which will benefit all of Beloit,” said City Manager Lori Curtis Luther.

Job and wage figures for the Beloit project have yet to be disclosed. The Beloit Daily News has filed an open-records request for project documents.

In March, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. approved $7.5 million in state tax credits for Amazon, which could use the subsidies for future projects such as Beloit’s. The actual amount Amazon receives hinges on the number of jobs created and capital investment undertaken through 2024.

Aside from the local sale of land to Seefried for $80, or $1 per acre, no local financial incentives will be provided for the Beloit project, city officials said.

By comparison, Kenosha and the state offered more than $32 million in incentives, and Oak Creek agreed to provide $16.9 million in financing.

Seefried must install any needed traffic controls or off-site infrastructure improvements based on a traffic study that is underway, according to information provided by the city.

Under the property purchase agreement, Seefried agrees to restore the property if the project falls through. The land currently is leased for farming, so Seefried would have to remove the crop and cover the costs of the farm lease.

The Amazon project is the largest in the 18-year history of the Gateway Business Park. The park’s current tenants include Alliance Development, Chicago Fittings, G5 Brewing Co., Kettle Foods, Kerry Ingredients, The Morse Group, NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, Specialty Tools, Staples Order Fulfillment Center and Pratt Industries.

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