Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust approves incentive for Amazon, resolution will pass to city council
Approval to negotiate a $1.7 million economic incentive to help bring an Amazon fulfillment center to Oklahoma City was given by Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust members Tuesday.
Trustees voted 4-0 to approve a joint resolution between the city of Oklahoma City and the trust, approving $1.7 million for a job creation Economic Development Agreement with Amazon.com. The agreement calls for incentives in return for Amazon's selection of Oklahoma City as the location for its new fulfillment center and for the company's commitment to create about 53 new quality jobs over the next five years.
Amazon Senior Manager of Economic Development Tom Florino presented to the trust Tuesday, telling members the company considers ability to reach customers, infrastructure, the available talent pool and economic incentives when choosing locations.
“We consider incentives as a material factor whenever we make a location decision,” Florino said. "And several metropolitan statistical areas in Midwestern and southern states were considered for this project.”
A fulfillment center would employ about 1,750 when completed, Florino said, in addition to the 53 quality jobs included in the agreement. Amazon is anticipating a capital investment of about $146 million for what eventually would be a 640,000-square-foot facility at 9201 S Portland in Oklahoma City.
Amazon uses its fulfillment centers as a first stop for fulfilling online orders. These warehouses hold inventory that is pulled from shelves and shipped when a customer orders. Adding centers helps Amazon better serve its customer base by having more of its inventory in closer proximity to customers.
However, building a fulfillment center in Oklahoma City doesn't mean all Amazon orders within the region will be fulfilled through this warehouse. Florino told the trust members orders are fulfilled by a variety of centers, depending on inventory and capability to serve specific orders.
Florino was asked if the construction of a local fulfillment center would lead to use of drones for delivery in the area.
“We continue to investigate and explore new types of technology to satisfy our customers and delight them, but I wouldn't have any detailed information on that technology at this time,” Florino said.
Morgan Harris, owner of the Green Bambino at 5120 N Shartel, spoke to the trust encouraging its members to refrain from approving any incentives for Amazon.
“I'm a small-business owner that competes with Amazon every single day,” Harris said. “From everything I read, Amazon wants fulfillment centers in every major metro area ... I believe based on what I read in the news and business analysis, they're coming. So I would ask, does Oklahoma City really need to give millions of dollars to a company that's coming here anyway?”
Harris told The Oklahoman after the meeting the city should find other uses for the money.
“I didn't come here today under any guise except my own passion at making sure the city stays vibrant and interesting and intriguing,” Harris told The Oklahoman after the meeting. “Even though I know Amazon is coming, I think $1.7 million can be used in a different way.”
The resolution now moves to the Oklahoma City Council for approval.