On Monday, Mobile County officials announced a major distribution center for FedEx Ground that is slated for construction in south Mobile County — a new development projected to bring more than 100 full-time jobs to the area at peak operation.
According to an agreement approved by the Mobile County Commission, Mobile Industrial Properties, LLC, will further develop a road and associated infrastructure in a commercial park in Theodore, where the 193,375-square-foot facility will be located.
“This is a win-win situation for Mobile County,” said Commissioner Jerry Carl, who represents the Theodore area located in District 3. “The development of the property will result in significant opportunities for recruitment of commercial and light manufacturing businesses, which in turn could bring even more jobs to our area.”
Mobile County won’t provide direct funding as a part of the deal, but the Commission did agree to a tax incentive deal with Johnson Development, a Houston-based business that has developed similar distribution points around the country for companies like Walmart, Volvo and FedEx.In the agreement, the Commission awarded a $1 million tax incentive to assist with infrastructure costs for the park in the future. That money will be paid through the Mobile County Industrial Development Authority over a 20-year period, to the tune of $50,000 annually.
However, those payments will only start after the industrial park hits its projected mark of providing 100 full-time jobs.
Carl said those jobs wouldn’t necessarily have to be exclusively at the FedEx distribution center and could be comprised of drivers and employees of subcontractors that support the facility. He also said the county currently collects about $27,000 in annual property taxes from the industrial park.
Mobile Industrial Properties, LLC, a company registered in South Carolina, has been tapped to develop improved infrastructure in the 158-acre park, which is located near Exit 13 off Interstate 10. Improvements will include constructing a roadway and enhancing drainage in the area.
FedEx Ground will only occupy approximately 193,375 square feet of warehouse and distribution space being built on the property. That project will begin in the coming months and is scheduled to be completed in early 2016.
But Carl said there could be more good news to come because the Johnson Development will only occupy around 25 percent of the available property at the complex. According to Carl, having a major distribution point could entice larger industrial manufacturers, like suppliers for Austal USA and Airbus, to build other facilities in the park.
“This would be a wonderful distribution point for parts or anything distribution-wise. It would be a lot cheaper to ship because of the FedEx location,” Carl said. “It might not be the only reason to build here, but it’s certainly another reason to. When you’re shipping thousands of individual parts for a single plane or vessel, that adds up fast.”
Carl called the development “another feather in Mobile County’s cap,” and said he’s been working on the project for around eight months. He also said the Mobile area was competing against several other potential locations, including Pensacola.
“For me, I’m excited that we’ve got a shot at 70 new jobs right there locally,” Carl said. “And, it’s still underdeveloped. (Johnson) has been actively talking to other distribution centers throughout this process, and that’s just more opportunities for local people and more chances for small businesses to get started.”
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