Amazon.com on Monday announced its plan to open a new warehouse — the company calls it a “fulfillment center” — in West Jordan that is expected to bring more than 800 jobs starting at $15 an hour with full benefits.
"Utah has a talented workforce, and we are very excited to grow employment beyond the more than 2,000 associates already serving customers in the state,” Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment, said in a prepared statement.
Gov. Gary Herbert praised the plan, calling Utah “the perfect place for companies in the distribution, fulfillment and logistics industries to enjoy great success.”
Amazon recently held a grand opening for its first fulfillment center in Utah — located in Salt Lake City. That project came after the state agreed to $5.6 million in tax breaks.
The West Jordan facility will be even larger, at 1.3 million square feet at the northeast intersection of Old Bingham Highway and Bacchus Highway.
First reported last week by The Salt Lake Tribune, the project was developed under the code name “Lonestar," and city officials approved $1.6 million in incentives for it last week. The city had signed a nondisclosure agreement prohibiting them from openly identifying the name of the retail giant behind the project.
During the council’s redevelopment agency meeting Wednesday night, Danyce Steck, city finance director, said the project “will definitely spur economic growth” around the area.
The agreement between the city and Lonestar requires the city to pay $1.6 million, but the company will build roads, water lines and storm drains “at a cost greater than the agreement’s value.”
Steck said the warehouse has a projected property value of $109 million and it’s estimated the city will receive about $200,000 annually in property taxes, meaning the city will recoup its investment within seven years.
“This is a very reasonable agreement,” Steck told members of the council. It is also far more modest than the incentive package offered three years ago when the city pushed a $260 million offer to Facebook to build a massive data center.
That project was killed when the State Board of Education, which was among several government entities that would have had to forfeit revenues in the package, balked. Then Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams had spearheaded opposition, calling the incentives offered “too rich by an order of magnitude,” especially in light of the estimated number of jobs created — 50 to 300.
City officials note that the current deal has a far different cost-benefit equation for the city.
West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding said the city “is thrilled" about the project.
“Amazon’s decision to invest here reflects confidence in the city’s business environment and excellent workforce,” Riding said in a prepared statement. “This project, with approximately 800 new jobs, will provide our residents with even greater opportunity to work close to home.”
City Manager David Brickey told The Tribune that the benefit to the city comes not only from increased property taxes and improvements to the roads and water and sewer lines in the area to foster other development, but income tax revenues.
“This is something that’s quite tangible,” Brickey said.