Amazon will open a fulfillment center in Macon to speed up deliveries in Georgia and surrounding states, the retail giant announced.
Macon was a strategic location for the company, Amazon spokesperson Ashley Robinson said.
“We look at infrastructure, workforce in the region, access to customers, where there are a lot of customers, where we need to increase prime membership benefits,” Robinson said.
Robinson said with a new fulfillment center in Georgia, Amazon Prime members who currently receive free two-day shipping, may be able to get their items the same day or next day.
Amazon said it plans to add 500 new jobs and is looking to be fully operational in Macon before October of 2018.
Mercer University management professor Carol Cagle said Macon is a growing city, and it continues to attract new business in shipping and logistics.
“Being in the geographical position that it’s in, relative to both the port of Brunswick and the port of Savannah, it’s ideal,” she said.
She said the access to the ports, which are about two to three hours away from Macon, also makes it ideal for future expansion.
Amazon Spokesperson Ashley Robinson said the company is looking to cut down on shipping time for customers in the “lower corridor” of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.
“Georgia’s strategic location, and looking at the workforce, and where we can better serve customers, made Macon an ideal location for this particular fulfillment center,” Robinson said.
Gov. Nathan Deal said Macon is a top national distribution hub and suppliers can reach nearly 80 percent of the U.S. from Georgia with just a two-day truck drive or two-hour flight.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development said Amazon is eligible for the Job Tax Credit and the Sales & Use Tax Exemption on some of its equipment.
Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority acting director Stephen Adams said his agency authorized a pre-approved tax schedule for Amazon, which he said is making a $90 million investment in the land, improvements, and equipment over the next few years.
“This current parcel of land, 97 acres we offered, is currently producing zero dollars in Macon-Bibb County,” Adams said. “By selling the property, we expect it will produce somewhere in the neighborhood of six million dollars of tax revenue over the next ten years.”
He said the location is next to a new interstate meant to handle heavy traffic, but it will continue to make traffic signals and road improvements in the area while Amazon is getting ready to move into the area.
“It’s very clear from the buzz around the community after the announcement was made that the community is very excited and receptive to welcome our newest corporate citizen,” Adams said.
Amazon said employees at the one million-square-foot facility it is leasing will pick, pack and ship large-sized items for customers, including household furniture, sporting equipment and gardening tools. The 500 new jobs will mostly be warehouse, management and supervisory positions.
Employees are expected to receive medical, dental and vision insurance, retirement benefits. They can also enroll in programs that allow employees to have 95 percent of their college tuition costs covered in advance for courses in “in-demand fields.”
Amazon already has four other large facilities in Georgia it leases in Jefferson, Union City, Lithia Springs and Braselton.
Amazon said the Braselton center supports customer fulfillment but is not specifically a fulfillment center.