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It’s official: Amazon is coming to Rossford

The tenant has finally been revealed for a major economic development project in Rossford, and it’s not a surprise.

Amazon.com announced Monday morning that it is building a fulfillment center on 100 acres in The Crossroads, just east of I-75 and north of U.S. 20/23. A second center will be location in Akron. City and company officials were mum for months on details, but The Blade reported in December that experts believed all signs pointed to Amazon being the mystery tenant for “Project Freddie.”

Rossford Mayor Neil MacKinnon spoke to The Blade prior to the announcement, calling it “monumental” for the region.

“For a company that’s so advanced like Amazon to narrow their top two sites to Rossford out of [several options] from three different states is a testament to our geography,” Mayor MacKinnon said. “I-75 is the longest north and south highway, 80-90 [the nearby Ohio Turnpike] is the longest east and west highway. The rest of the world is starting to recognize our geography.”

Mayor MacKinnon said Amazon was eyeing a new fulfillment center late last year and was considering 11 sites in places like Lima, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Detroit. He said Rossford was not on the radar.

That changed when an intermediary between Amazon and the mayor asked to see Rossford’s inventory. Mayor MacKinnon showed him The Crossroads and property between Buck and Mandell roads.

“He calls me a week later and says it’s down to five sites — Rossford is two of them,” Mayor MacKinnon said. “It was November or December and Rossford was two of three. Then down to two — both in Rossford.”

Amazon spokesman Andre Woodson said Rossford’s geography was a key selling point.

“One of our primary factors that go into our thought process on where to place a new fulfillment center is location,” Mr. Woodson said. “We’re responding to customer demand and want to make sure our fulfillment centers are close to customers so we can offer great Prime service and fast shipping speeds. We also strategically look for locations that provide robust public infrastructure, a strong, dedicated workforce and great local support — and we’ve found all of those factors in Rossford.”

The mayor praised his team for seeing the project through, including attorney Rex Huffman, Rossford Law Director Kevin Heban, attorney Gary Sommer, and City Administrator Ed Ciecka.

The facility is expected to be up and running by August, 2020. At least 1,000 jobs will be created initially, and Mayor MacKinnon said that number could eventually climb to 3,000.

Amazon offers a minimum wage of $15 an hour and a full benefits package, plus free job training and up to 90 percent tuition reimbursement.

The fulfillment center will be 85 feet tall and occupy 700,000 square feet with a total footprint of 2.8 million square feet. Plans also call for 1,800 parking spaces and 300 truck bays.

Duke Realty — whose largest customer is Amazon — is developing the project. Other big names in real estate, such as Northpoint Asset Management, have done business recently in northwest Ohio.

“If you look at what’s happened in the last four years, three of the five largest REITs [real-estate investment trusts] in the country have identified northern Wood County and Lucas County as a place for fulfillment and distribution and logistics,” Mayor MacKinnon said. “To have three internationally-known firms identify you as a place to do business says a lot about the region.”

A noise wall will be built on the facility’s north end, where trucks will operate. Entrances will be located at Compass Drive and Crossroads Parkway, and the site will include a fence and guard shack.

Several variances were approved by the city in May, including permits to erect the eight-foot chain-link fence and 16-foot noise barrier.

Mayor MacKinnon said it’s possible the city will improve certain streets to handle increased traffic.

City council, the Rossford Board of Education, and the Wood County Commissioners previously approved a 15-year abatement for real estate taxes on the project’s assessed value. The school district will still collect 100 percent of the taxes it would normally have received and expects to collect $579,000 annually from an enterprise zone agreement.

 

Posted By: The Blade on July 22, 2019.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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