Saturday, May 26, 2018
Business

Developers of Amazon distribution centers file permit on Ruskin site

TAMPA — Real estate developers and a construction company that have worked on warehouses for Amazon in other states have filed a permit to build a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution facility in Ruskin.

Hillsborough County records show US Real Estate wants to construct the facility on the same site where the online retailer has proposed creating a "fulfillment center'' where goods are shipped to customers.

The permit application didn't mention Amazon, but US Real Estate, a subsidiary of insurance company USAA, has developed other Amazon distribution centers nationwide, including one in Patterson, Calif.

The application lists as the applicant Seefried Properties, an Atlanta-based industrial real estate developer that has worked on several Amazon warehouses. And Conlan Co., which has offices in Atlanta and Jacksonville, was listed as the contractor. It was the general contractor for the Amazon distribution center in Lexington County, S.C.

Phone calls to the companies were not returned.

Amazon announced in June that it planned to create more than 3,000 full-time jobs in Florida and invest $300 million in facilities by the end of 2016. Establishing a physical presence in Florida would require the retailer to start collecting sales tax on items bought in the state. Amazon customers in Florida currently aren't charged sales tax.

Amazon hasn't said where it plans to build the distribution centers, but cities across the state have expressed interest. Both Hillsborough and Polk counties have approved financial incentives to lure a warehouse to their communities. This summer, Hillsborough commissioners voted to waive half of the county portion of Amazon's property tax bill for the first seven years, or about $6.4 million. They also agreed to give Amazon $1.1 million over four years in exchange for the company creating jobs that paid above-average wages. Polk officials approved $4.5 million in property tax incentives over 10 years.

Seattle-based Amazon was expected to make an announcement about sites by July 31, and county officials say a decision could come at any time. It's possible the company would open warehouses in both places to distribute different items.

The proposed Ruskin site is at Interstate 75 and State Road 674 in the mostly vacant South Shore Corporate Park. The land is owned by Ryan Cos. based in Minneapolis.

The Polk County site is owned by Lakeland Tango, a Florida company created in May that lists its address as the same as USAA's real estate division in San Antonio, Texas. The company bought the land in May for $4.6 million, according to online property appraiser records.

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