Tax break approved for planned Amazon receiving center in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tax incentives for a planned Amazon receiving center that could bring hundreds of jobs to Memphis have been approved.

On Wednesday, the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) board approved the facility to be built here and the incentives that would go with it.

“The growth is definitely quick paced and we’re excited Memphis is going to be a part of that," said Ryan Wilson, economic development manager for Amazon.

Amazon representatives presented a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) application for a new receiving center to come to the Bluff City.

The facility would collect and repackage products for distribution.

Amazon says they’ll invest over $62 million to build on land along East Holmes Road.

It would create 600 jobs with the majority of them paying $12-14 an hour.

City Councilman Martavius Jones expressed concerns about providing incentives for relatively low-wage jobs.

He says the city’s poverty rate is so high, we need to bring in higher-paying jobs.

“If we continue to do this, we are on a race to the bottom," said councilman Jones.

However, others pointed out that the plot of land Amazon is looking at currently generates less than $8,000 a year in property tax revenue, and after this 15-year PILOT, it would generate nearly $1.5 million a year.

Amazon representatives said they offer educational assistance programs and other benefits.

“We think it’s the right thing to do to invest in people, help them move on to their next career and we want to be a part of that," said Wilson.

In return for tax incentives, Amazon would also commit to spending $12.2 million on certified minority owned businesses in Memphis.

Amazon says they’ll announce their official decision within the next few weeks about this receiving center.

In a separate move, Memphis is also trying to lure Amazon’s second headquarters. The applications for that are due Thursday.