Site Selection: Amazon’s Giant Leap Into Grand Rapids Region
Internet Retailer’s Investment Endorses Michigan State’s Logistics, Distribution Assets
As a further endorsement of Michigan’s prime logistical assets and strategic location to the Midwest and Canadian consumer markets, Amazon.com Services Inc. will invest $150 million in a fulfillment center in Gaines Township, Kent County. On May 22, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $4 million Michigan Business Performance program grant to support the online giant’s latest investment in the state.
When completed, the sprawling sortation and fulfillment center on a 100-acre site will have up to 1,000 full-time jobs with benefits, and offer employees 95 percent reimbursement on the cost of college tuition. Amazon will lease the newly constructed state-of-the-art, build-to-suit fulfillment center on land owned by Steelcase, a Grand Rapids-based furniture maker. A third-party developer will build the center.
“Amazon’s ongoing investment in Michigan reflects the state’s prime supply chain assets, and as a Midwest distribution center for internet-based businesses,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which administers business attraction and job-creation programs along with conducts due diligence on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“A project of this size will likely attract more growth and capital, and consequently, there will be a range of business investment,” Mason added. “The state’s success comes from the coordination with our regional economic partners, and an understanding of how the state’s logistical assets can support a global enterprise like Amazon’s.”
The investment in western Michigan comes after the internet-based retailer established three fulfillment centers in metro Detroit during the last 18 months. Since December 2016, Amazon has invested in centers in Livonia, Romulus, and Shelby Township. With the additional investment at the Gaines Charter Township site, Amazon’s total private investment in Michigan stands at $420 million with the commitment to create 4,925 jobs.
“The Right Place is pleased to work on the proposed Gaines Township Amazon fulfillment center,” said Birgit Klohs, president/CEO, The Right Place Inc., a non-profit economic development organization that spearheads business growth in West Michigan. “This critical approval from the MEDC brings this project one step closer to reality.”
The site in western Michigan was selected over competing sites in the Midwest. Gaines Charter Township is providing a 50 percent property tax abatement in support of the project.
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