Over a year after Amazon decided not to move forward with its planned “HQ2” in Long Island City, NY due to public pressure against the project, Fort Bend County can count itself the home of a new Amazon Fulfillment Center.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced breaking ground on the facility’s construction Thursday on Twitter.
After the Long Island City debacle, in which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez almost single-handedly sunk the plans, George wrote to Amazon offering his county as an option for the shipping magnate.
To the southwest side of Houston, Fort Bend County is home to over 800,000 people and has been rapidly increasing since the 1990s. While largely a residential county, wherein those who work in Houston or Harris County generally choose to live, more and more business has sprung up in Fort Bend County itself.
On 93.5 acres of land, the 850,000 square-foot fulfillment center will result in 1,000 jobs for the area. It has a target launch date of 2021, according to George.
George wrote to Amazon President and CEO, Jeff Bezos, in February of 2019. “Fort Bend County is a unique place,” he said. “We consist of the most diverse community in the United States, deliver extremely high graduation rates, are one of the top per capita purchasers in the state of Texas, have lots of wide open spaces, but are also strategically located for the most efficient distribution of goods domestically and internationally.”
While not the “HQ2,” which will now be built in Arlington, VA, George is elated about the fulfillment center’s construction in his community.
“We are very excited to work with Amazon to build a state-of-the-art fulfillment center. Extensive work has been put into this project and we cannot wait for Amazon, the great company it is, to begin operations,” George told The Texan.
Part of the process for most economic development projects is the use of financial incentives — whether they are local tax abatements or cash awards to attract the particular business to an area.
Because local communities compete for these businesses, the process often becomes an auction with which millions, and sometimes billions, of taxpayer dollars are waved in front of the noses of company executives.
One of these functions within Texas is the massive Texas Enterprise Fund which has doled out nearly $680 million in cash disbursements to companies building operations in Texas since its inception 15 years ago.
But that is not the case for Fort Bend County’s newest addition, George stated.
The county helped on the infrastructure side with hurdles like permits and the water and power supplies, but is, according to George, not providing any financial help to Amazon.
Amazon confirmed this to The Texan.
George continued, “We want people to know that Fort Bend County is open for business and we will gladly work with anyone, big or small, who wants to bring their jobs here.”
Amazon further confirmed that a big factor for its decision to build in Fort Bend was the workforce available.
From the moment George sent the letter, to the time he announced construction of the facility, over a year elapsed. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort by the county to get this complicated project squared away, he added.
But Fort Bend residents will undoubtedly benefit from the investment and a year from now the distribution center should be up-and-running.
At a time when unemployment is in double digits and many businesses have closed their doors for good, 1,000 jobs is nothing to sneeze at — especially for those who may have no job to return to when Texas fully reopens.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.