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Garner to announce Amazon distribution center on Friday

An Amazon fulfillment center in North Las Vegas. The online retailer is building several distribution centers across the country, including in North Carolina. It is expected to announce its latest in Garner on Friday.
An Amazon fulfillment center in North Las Vegas. The online retailer is building several distribution centers across the country, including in North Carolina. It is expected to announce its latest in Garner on Friday. AP file

Garner plans to announce on Friday morning that Amazon will build a distribution center in the town, according to a town official who requested anonymity.

The News & Observer reported last month that the town had approved a special-use permit for a four-story, 2.6-million-square-foot distribution center on Jones Sausage Road. The distribution center, which would be at the former ConAgra site, was referred to as “Project Axis” when it was considered by the Garner Town Council. At the time, The N&O cited an anonymous source close to the negotiations who said the company behind the project was Amazon.

On Thursday, the town official, who requested that his name not be used, said the Amazon distribution center would employ between 1,500 to 2,000 people.

Rick Mercier, communications manager for the town of Garner, would not confirm that the announcement was about “Project Axis,” but told the N&O that the announcement would be the biggest economic development for the town in recent time.

At Amazon's new fulfillment center in Kansas City, Kan., packages whiz through a series of automated systems that work in tandem with distribution employees. The Star took a look at the robotics at the online retailer's new facility Monday.

The town’s largest employer currently is the Wake County Public School system, which has about 800 employees, Mercier said in an email.

Hillwood, a commercial real estate developer, will build the distribution center. The company has previous ties to Amazon, the Triangle Business Journal reported last month.

Scott Martin, director of development for Hillwood, told the Town Council last month that his client wants the distribution center open by September 2019. Though he did not confirm the number of jobs, Martin also said the distribution center would have two shifts, though it could sometimes have three.

The N&O reported in July that documents associated with the project have many specifics, including provisions for 58 docking bays and 1,800 parking spaces, for example. And while the documents did not name the business, they noted the color scheme that would be used on the building: three different shades of gray with accents in yellow and blue — a color scheme the company has used on some of its other fulfillment centers.

WRAL News has also previously reported that “sources who spoke on condition of anonymity” had told the media outlet “for several months that Amazon had its eyes on the Garner location.”

Amazon already has a distribution center in Durham and another in Kannapolis. The company is planning to build a distribution center near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to The Charlotte Observer .

That facility, scheduled to be completed in late 2019, will employ 1,500 people. Charlotte has agreed to give Amazon $13.7 million in incentives, according to The Observer.

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