Charlotte city council votes on Amazon deal that will bring 1,500 jobs

Amazon distribution center approved

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte City Council is set to vote on a major deal involving Amazon at its Monday night meeting.

City leaders say it will vote on turning a large piece of property located at Tuckaseegee and Todd Road into a first of its kind Amazon distribution center.

"This is a new model for Amazon," Charlotte At-Large Councilman James Mitchell said, "so it's one of six, and they want to choose Charlotte as the first one. So this is big for our community."

Mitchell says Amazon may not have chosen Charlotte as the location of its second headquarters but it feels good Amazon chose Charlotte for this major project.

"But I hope the business community and citizens realize Charlotte is still on the map," Mitchell said. "1,500 jobs."

The average salaries for those 1,500 jobs will be between $25,000 and $45,000 a year.

"They are dealing more with computers, more with robotics," Mitchell said, "and so it's not your typical hard labor type distribution - it's more hi-tech."

Leaders admit it will be a challenge to fill those hi-tech jobs. Charlotte was told the lack of hi-tech workers was one reason why Charlotte missed out on being selected as the site of Amazon's second headquarters.

The city will now reach out to students at West Mecklenburg High School, Olympic, and Harding University High School. Mitchell says Amazon will also help find workers and improve Charlotte's unemployment numbers.

"They have agreed to do outreach in the Little Rock/Tuckaseegee area," Mitchell said. "Because we gave them a list of zip codes of high unemployment and Amazon has made a commitment they will start there - to be able to hire their employees. So this is a great win for us."

Mitchell hopes other people in the community will start now to get the skills they need so when Amazon opens its new facility - people will be there to fill the 1,500 job openings.

The developer will pay about $7.5 million for the land while the city will provide a reimbursement grant, not to exceed $9 million, to improve traffic.  Charlotte Douglas International Airport will also chip in.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles says this is the cost of doing business.

"Amazon is one business that we are going to be putting in roads and infrastructure improvements that they can locate here," Lyles said, "But we do that for any business that would come forward, that would bring that type of jobs."

The new distribution center should be built by sometime in 2019.

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