See Amazon's million-square-foot building site in Monroe

Project Big Daddy: How Monroe landed Amazon’s next fulfillment center

Hefty tax credits and months of strategic negotiations helped solidify Amazon’s decision to build its next fulfillment center in Monroe — a plan local officials and developers referred to as Project Big Daddy.

Public records obtained by this news organization answers the question that state and local officials across the country want to know: Just how did Monroe lure online giant Amazon? The company confirmed last month its plans to open a fourth Ohio fulfillment center that will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs in the Warren County portion of Monroe.

The one-million-square foot facility near Interstate 75 will house employees who will pick, pack and ship larger customer orders. The records show that the development will be built at 700 Gateway Blvd. by IDI Gazeley, which currently has five available properties for development in Ohio, all at Park North in Monroe.

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“The support of local leaders and incredible workforce has been instrumental in our decision to locate the new fulfillment center in the state, and we are grateful for the support we’ve received to bring new jobs and investment to Ohio,” said Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s vice president of North America Customer Fulfillment, in a statement.

Atlanta-headquartered IDI Gazeley develops warehousing, distribution and manufacturing facilities around the world, and specializes in sustainable warehouse development.

As state and local officials worked with Amazon to bring the center to Monroe, the team first referred to the plan as Project Lux — and later, Project Big Daddy.

“Amazon is now being referred to as Project Big Daddy instead of Project Lux! Apparently somewhere down the line there was an existing Project Lux dealing with Amazon and it would create confusion in the future to have two of them,” Ruthann Ladenburger, leasing and development coordinator for IDI Gazeley wrote in an email in late June to other team members.

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Tax credits helped entice the online giant to the Monroe location, city records show.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 1.39 percent, 10-year tax credit for the Amazon facility that is expected to create $26.7 million in new payroll and be a $30 million fixed-asset investment. The tax credit starts in January. As part of the tax credit agreement, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority says Amazon will have to maintain operations at the Monroe location for at least 13 years.

Public records also show the developer, referred to as “Park North 6 LLC” entered into a separate agreement with the city of Monroe through a Community Reinvestment Area Agreement (CRA). The CRA stated the cost of site development and construction of a new building will likely exceed $70 million. The developer estimated that the development process will create 170 full-time jobs with an aggregate annual payroll of approximately $5.1 million.

Under the agreement, the developer received a 100 percent tax exemption for real property improvements made to the project site for 15 years.

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The expected Amazon project completion date is Dec. 28, 2018, and the “tenant improvement portion” of the project will be completed no later than Feb. 1, 2019. 

“The construction and operation of the facility is predicated on being able to achieve the requested tax abatement of 100 percent of improvements for 15 years as described in the existing Development Agreement with the city. The facility will be required to be competitive on a regional basis and able to compete with other tax-abated property,” the document stated.


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