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The cat's out of the bag: Amazon plans fulfillment center for Leon County

Posted at 6:11 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 18:11:05-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The secret is out. Leon County confirmed Wednesday that Project Mango is in fact an Amazon robotics fulfillment center.

Previously, we knew it was a fulfillment center. Now, it's being a called a robotics fulfillment center. The high-tech facility will use robots to help make sorting and distributing items easier for human workers. Most of the products at this site will be smaller items such as books, toys, electronics, and household products.

Amazon is expected to bring in 1,346 full-time jobs starting at $15 an hour.

Earlier this summer, Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency approved $2.5 million in incentives through the Office of Economic Vitality's Targeted Business Program to help with recruitment.

Now OEV is working with local chambers to hire people directly from our community. City Commissioner Dianne Williams Cox says this deal means other businesses get a boost as well.

"Bringing in personnel as well as hiring locally is going to mean that we're going to have restaurants with people going in for their services, we're going to have stores needing to provide services for individuals. We're going to have folks with money in their pockets to do some things here," said Williams-Cox.

"Our goal has been to increase the number of high-wage, high skill, high volume jobs in our community," said City Commissioner Curtis Richardson.

After nearly a year of planning, mostly behind closed doors, the plans are set in motion to construct the center on Mahan Drive, beside the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.

"Right there off of Interstate 10, we've been looking to further develop that corridor for years. This will bring more commercial development to complement the housing development in that area," said Richardson.

The fulfillment center will also bring in 2,256 short-term jobs, mostly in construction.

The FSU Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis predicts $167.6 million in wages and $451 million dollars in economic revenue to come from Amazon.

OEV Director Cristina Paredes says that makes this the largest recruitment project for the county.

"It is a recruitment project because they didn't already have a footprint here in our community," said Paredes.

While Leon County is the home of the capitol, two hospitals, and two universities, those are all public jobs rooted right here. Before Amazon, the private business with the largest economic impact was Danfoss.

"They moved here, they brought in high wage manufacturing jobs and then since staying here has expanded 3 additional times in our market area," said Paredes.

More higher-paying jobs could mean more people moving here and more people staying.

"One of the things we struggle with is trying to keep that talent here. As opposed to educating them and sending them out into the world, some of that talent will want to stay here. Not only as Amazon comes here and grows, but as other industries are attracted to Tallahassee to come here and grow," said Williams-Cox.

Construction will begin in September 2021. It's slated to complete in late 2022. Right now, no jobs have been posted.