Ives said the City Council and city staff have worked for “over a year” with representatives of Amazon.com Inc. and industrial developer Prologis to bring the Seattle-based Internet retailer to Tracy.
“We have worked heaven and earth for this,” Ives said.
Though he did not have a firm timeline for groundbreaking,
Ives estimated that within a year Amazon would bring 1,000 jobs to the city’s Northeast Industrial Area, a section of northeastern Tracy specifically dedicated to industrial development. Ives said the planned facility would likely be an automated distribution center with a robotics element.
“The pay scale is higher than at a standard distribution center,” he said.
Ives also said the city would benefit from a boost in sales tax.
Amazon has estimated a “low end” of $100 million in point-of-sales business annually at the proposed Tracy center, according to Ives.
Though he did not specifically mention Amazon, Tracy Finance Director Zane Johnston said Wednesday, Nov. 21, that Tracy would see about $1 million in sales taxes from a company with $100 million in sales.
However, he said the city’s half-cent Measure E sales tax would not apply to purchases through a fulfillment center such as those Amazon operates — except for purchases made by people within Tracy city limits.
Johnston noted that the city’s initial tax share from such a company could be lower, because of a policy passed in December that allows Tracy to offer a temporary sales tax rebate as a financial incentive to new employers that create more than 1,000 jobs.
“The exact dollar amount remains to be seen, and that’s talking about any entity … based on the policy we have,” Johnston said.
Ives said sales tax money from a potential Amazon fulfillment center would be funneled into the city’s deficit-saddled general fund and could help the city provide services to residents, such as police and fire protection.
Though the agreement with Tracy was not confirmed by Amazon officials, who did not respond to a Wednesday, Nov. 21, request for comment as of press time, Ives said an announcement could be made as early as Monday, Nov. 26.
Ives said he had not signed a nondisclosure agreement regarding the negotiations, although City Manager Leon Churchill, Development and Engineering Services Director Andrew Malik and other staff members did so. Churchill refused to make any comment regarding the matter.
Ives said he and others at the city had been careful to not leak information that might damage the project’s prospects.
But while City Hall remained silent concerning Amazon, Ives insisted city staff members were not inactive.
At least two council decisions in the past 12 months, he confirmed, are linked to the anticipated Amazon center.
On May 4, the City Council gave Prologis the unanimous go-ahead to construct three new buildings totaling about 1 million square feet south of Grant Line Road off Paradise Road.
On Dec. 21, 2011, the council called a special meeting to unanimously approve giving companies with local gross annual sales of $100 million or more a temporary break on sales tax. At the time, Malik said the council decision would help Tracy create more local jobs.
In May, Amazon announced it would place a separate distribution and fulfillment center in Patterson, about 20 miles southeast of Tracy. That outpost, like the anticipated center in Tracy, will take up about 1 million square feet of building space and will employ about 1,500 people, according to city of Patterson estimates.
• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or email@example.com.