FedEx gets first tax-break approval

A tax break for a proposed FedEx distribution center in Greenwood received its first approval from the city council.

Last month, FedEx announced plans to invest $259 million into a 608,000-square-foot distribution center northeast of Interstate 65 and Worthsville Road, and in return requested a 10-year, $17.3 million tax break on the building and equipment.

The tax break would need two approvals from the city council, and got its first OK this week with a vote of 8-1. The council will need to vote once more on the request. The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission has already unanimously approved the tax break. Council member Bruce Armstrong voted no because he didn’t believe the pay FedEx was offering to the part-time workers at the site was high enough to justify giving the company a tax break, he said.

By 2024, the new center would create 80 full-time jobs with an average wage of $24.55 an hour and 375 part-time jobs with an average pay of $14.24 an hour, company officials have said.

Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said the part-time positions, which pay higher than other part-time jobs and eventually come with benefits, will be beneficial to community members looking for part-time work.

If the tax break is approved, construction would begin in June of 2018, with operations set to begin in June of 2020. If the company expands the distribution center, which could happen in seven to eight years, the job numbers at the site would double, according to company representatives. Company officials have said the investment, which includes $49 million to purchase the land, $110 million to construct the building and $100 million on equipment, will generate about $100 million in property taxes over the first 25 years.

Earlier this fall, Greenwood approved rezoning about 350 acres of land northeast of the Worthsville Road interchange for a new business park. FedEx is taking up 237 acres of land and Newgistics, which received a tax break this fall to construct a 447,000-square foot distribution facility, will use about 60 acres land, leaving about 50 acres of land left for development at the site.

At past meetings, residents had raised concerns about increased truck traffic on Worthsville Road west of I-65, something city officials said they didn’t believe would be a problem due to the routes drivers were likely to take. No residents spoke for or against the proposal at this week’s meeting.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.