NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Nashville will become home to Amazon's East Coast hub of operations with a $230 million capital investment that is expected to create 5,000 full-time corporate jobs.
According to the governor's office, this is the largest jobs announcement in the history of Tennessee and is projected to created more than 13,000 jobs in the state. Every direct job created by the project is expected to create an additional 1.6 jobs.
Amazon's new "Operations Center of Excellence" will be located at a 1 million-square-foot facility north of the Gulch where the Lifeway building was previously located. The 15-acre mixed-use development will house tech and management functions, including customer fulfillment, customer service and transportation.
"It’s a testament to the vitality of the region’s economy that an industry leader such as Amazon has chosen Nashville for its new Operations Center of Excellence," said Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, in a news release. "Nashville’s unique vibe, in-migration trends and strong business growth helped set us apart as a top 20 city for Amazon’s HQ2. Ultimately, being selected as a finalist opened the opportunity for Nashville to be chosen for this significant operation – a historic win for our region."
Amazon already employs 2,500 people in Middle Tennessee across five fulfillment and sortation centers, along with a Prime Now Hub in Nashville. The company invested more than $5 billion into the area between 2011 and 2017.
"We are looking forward to joining the community and are excited to be creating high-paying jobs in Nashville. Our new Operations Center of Excellence will become the Eastern U.S. hub for our Retail Operations division," said Holly Sullivan, with Amazon public policy, in a news release.
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce coordinated the project with assistance from the Nashville Mayor’s Office, the State of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development and the Tennessee Valley Authority, among others.
HAPPENING NOW: press conference on Amazon Operations Center of Excellence — will bring 5K jobs to Nashville pic.twitter.com/XuL5oigNXW— Rebecca Cardenas (@RebeccaWSMV) November 13, 2018
"We want to thank Amazon for its continued investment in the state of Tennessee and are excited about the additional 5,000 corporate jobs they will be creating in Nashville," said Gov. Bill Haslam in a statement. "It has never been clearer that Tennessee is a great place to do business, and we continue to attract a wide variety of global companies that provide high-paying, quality jobs for our residents."
According to officials, Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of up to $102 million, including a cash grant for capital expenditures from the state of Tennessee for $65 million, a cash grant from the city of Nashville of up to $15 million and a job tax credit to offset franchise and excise taxes from the state for $21.7 million.
The development projects, which could be announced as soon as Tuesday, promise to bring the cities a giant infusion of jobs and tax revenue.
"Amazon’s decision to expand its presence in Nashville is a direct result of the talented workforce and strong community we’ve built here," said Mayor David Briley in a news release. "These are quality, high-paying jobs that will boost our economy, provide our workers with new opportunities, and show the rest of the world that Nashville is a premiere location for business investment. We thank Amazon for investing in Nashville, and we look forward to welcoming them to this community."
Sen. Lamar Alexander issued this statement about the announcement.
Good for Amazon. Good for Governor Haslam. And great for Tennessee. Amazon’s decision to invest $230 million and create 5,000 good-paying jobs is even more evidence that Nashville is an attractive place to live and work.
However, not everyone in Nashville is excited about the news.
Mark Cunningham, spokesman for the Beacon Center, issued this statement:
Nashville was passed over for Amazon's second (and third) headquarters, yet city and state officials still got scammed into giving the company more than $100 million in taxpayer giveaways for a consolation prize, which includes $80 million in cash handouts. Amazon, one of the world's most valuable companies, and the government played taxpayers with this incentive deal, and it is time for us to speak up against this type of corporate welfare. While we welcome new businesses and the jobs they create to our state, forcing middle-class Tennesseans and small businesses to give their hard-earned dollars to a multi-billion dollar business is both unfair and immoral.
Many are concerned about the traffic congestion that already plagues downtown Nashville and what adding thousands more people to the mix will do.
"We're working with TDOT to do a better job of managing the thoroughfares in and out of town. We do continue to invest in expanding our existing transit system, and we have actually gone recently to the federal government seeking some grant money to build out the transit network here in Nashville," Briley said to News4.
This announcement comes after Nashville entered a bid to become the home of Amazon's second headquarters. The company has decided to split the headquarters between New York and Virginia. Click here to read more.