Amazon will build distribution center, create 500 jobs in Johnston County

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by Sloane Heffernan, WRAL reporter, and Rick Smith, WRAL TechWire editor

Amazon is expanding again in the Triangle, building a distribution center in Smithfield.

Chris Johnson, the economic development director for Johnston County, confirmed rumors of the Amazon warehouse to WRAL News minutes before a pubic meeting to hear comment about incentives being offered to the company.

According to officials, Amazon will construct a 620,000-square-foot facility expected to open by Dec. 31, 2022.

The nearly $100 million investment and will create some 500 jobs with starting salaries of $15 per hour.

The facility will be built in the West Smithfield Office Park, along U.S. Highway 70, near the Johnston County airport.

The news was disclosed at a public meeting Monday morning and was the result of “many months of collaboration” between the Town of Smithfield and Johnston County, officials said at the meeting.

Should Amazon deliver as planned, once construction is complete and jobs created, the company will get a rebate of up to $5 million on the taxes for the facility over a seven-year period. Even with the rebate, Amazon will be the second-largest taxpayer in Smithfield, Johnson said.

He estimated that direct jobs created by Amazon and ancillary job growth and other investments could bring the town and county over $97 million annually.

Once the rebates expire, Amazon would be the largest source of tax revenue for the town.

Town councilman Dr. David Barbour said other companies have already shown interest. “We’re excited about it. This is a great move, and it’s only the first. We got other people interested in other things. In 10 years, it’ll be hard to recognize Smithfield.”

“Amazon’s selection of Johnston County for this important new facility will bring accessible job opportunities, local tax-base and economic diversification to Smithfield and beyond, and it marks a major win for our community,” said Chad Stewart, chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “We welcome the arrival of this gamechanging company and are deeply grateful for the positive impact it will make here.”

Added Smithfield Mayor Andy Moore, “This is a historic day for the Town of Smithfield. By welcoming Amazon here, we have embarked on a new era of growth, with an immediate impact on job creation, and a ripple effect on every aspect of our local economy. We are excited to welcome Amazon to Smithfield and know they will be a wonderful addition to our community.”

Amazon also is steadily expanding its presence in the Triangle with a new warehouse facility in Garner and added distribution centers coming online.

“North Carolina is great for business, and Amazon is excited to continue its growth and investment with a new cross-dock facility in Smithfield,” said Courtney Johnson Norman, a spokesman for Amazon. “North Carolina has an incredible workforce that has been vital to our ability to serve our customers across the region. The new jobs in Smithfield will provide competitive pay and comprehensive benefits on day one along with opportunities for professional growth and career development for those looking to build better and brighter futures.”

Earlier this month, Amazon announced plans to construct a new delivery station in Fayetteville that it said would create about 200 jobs in Cumberland County, with wages starting at about $15 per hour, opening in 2022.  WRAL TechWire reported at that time that a site in Johnston County could be next.

Officials noted that Amazon has created more than 27,000 full- and part-time jobs in North Carolina and invested more than $2.1 billion across the state since 2010.

Original Source: WRAL Techwire