New Amazon fulfillment center fuels hope in Raleigh

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Construction is well underway at a new Amazon fulfillment center off New Allen Road in the Raleigh-Frayser area, where leaders say the project could transform the area.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said at least 1,000 jobs paying at least $15 an hour are set to come to the site for an official groundbreaking next week.

The site will be Amazon's in Tennessee to use iAmazon Robotics technology to pick, pack and ship smaller items, such as books and electronics.

Leaders we talked to said this project will bring much more than just jobs.

"A plus for District 1 is a plus for Memphis," said City Council representative Rhonda Logan, who is also the executive director of the Raleigh Community Development Corporation.

She says projects like this one, coupled with growth in other parts of the neighborhood like the brand-new Raleigh Springs Town Center Development, means greater community engagement.

"From churches to the police, the schools to neighborhoods, that's what we're doing here in Raleigh," she said.

And while good jobs are crucial, Pastor Deandre Brown, an area community leader believes bringing in a major company can also do more.

"It can help us shift the culture," Brown said. "When you consider the fact that a lot of our citizens do live in poverty, when you see opportunities that are actually attainable, it provides a sense of hope. And when you can provide for hope for individuals it makes them make better decisions."

The center, under the code name "Project Iris" has been speculated to be an Amazon center for months.

In December, WREG learned that a building permit had been pulled for the New Allen location, leaving many to speculate that it would be another enormous Amazon fulfillment center.

At the time, even Amazon wouldn't say if they were planning to use the site.

"Amazon is a dynamic business and we are constantly exploring new locations and weighing a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future sites to best serve customers, however, we have a policy of not commenting on rumors, speculation or our future road map."

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