published on December 15, 2016 - 7:57 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
The Fresno City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a $30 million incentive package to lure an Amazon e-commerce fulfillment center to town.


Amazon subsidiary Golden State FC LLC is proposing to spend more than $100 million to build the facility, which would create up to 2,000 jobs.

It is the second time in 30 days the council has approved a multi-million-dollar incentive package to lure a large employer to town. Last month it approved an $18 million package to bring an Ulta Beauty fulfillment center to town that would create up to 1,200 new jobs.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin said that the 3,200 jobs promised by these two projects combined could essentially shave up to 1 percent off Fresno’s unemployment rate, which stood at 9.2 percent in October, according to the state Employment Development Department.

“We don’t move that needle very easily or very well,” she said.

A couple of speakers from the public criticized the move, equating it to corporate welfare. But Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin clarified that the agreement would be performance based, and the incentive money would be from increases in property taxes for the property, which is currently an almond orchard at the North Pointe Business Park in South Fresno.

Councilmember Oliver Baines, whose district includes the North Pointe Business Park, said the region’s poverty doesn’t give the city much room to turn away potential jobs.

“Us here in fresno are not necessarily in the position to not go after opportunities like this for the community,” Baines said.

The Ulta and Amazon incentive agreements are each for 30-year terms. The Amazon project is expected to generate more than $2.8 billion in payroll over that time.

Councilmember Lee Brand, who becomes Fresno’s mayor next month, said this project and its net new jobs illustrates a new era of economic development for the city.

“This aint the fresno of 10 or 20 years ago,” he said. “It’s a city on the move.”

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