Amazon picked Oak Creek over Michigan, Ohio

Nearly all tax credits awarded for capital investments

A rendering of the planned distribution center.

Last updated on June 20th, 2019 at 10:17 am picked Oak Creek for a nearly 2.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center over similar projects it considered doing in Michigan and Ohio, according to state documents and a source involved in the project.

The new facility, announced last year, is described as Amazon’s flagship Wisconsin facility and will ship around 1 million packages per day. The company’s Kiva branded robots will operate throughout the building, which will house around 25 million items, according to state documents.

The project is eligible for $7.5 million in state tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Those credits are in addition to the $10.3 million previously awarded to Amazon for its facilities in Kenosha.

The company was deciding between Wisconsin and Michigan for the investment, according to a WEDC staff review for the new credits. A source involved with the project said Amazon was also considering Ohio for an investment, but noted the company is often simultaneously considering investments in multiple locations.

The city of Oak Creek is also supporting the project, located just east of I-94 on Ryan Road, with $16.9 million in tax incremental financing.

The state ties most of the state tax credits the project is eligible for – $6.5 million in 2019 – to $100 million in additional capital investment. The new tax award gives Amazon the opportunity to earn $1 million in payroll tax credits for the creation of 92 jobs at the Oak Creek facility.

Amazon plans to create 1,500 jobs at the facility, but most of the new positions are not eligible for payroll tax credits. Average annual earnings for all of the new positions are expected to be $33,945.

The updated contract does require the company to have at least 4,000 jobs in the state to earn any payroll tax credits starting in 2020. Amazon had around 3,500 jobs in Wisconsin at the end of 2017 and will need 5,000 jobs to earn the full amount of payroll tax credits.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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