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St. Peters approves resolutions to issue bonds to finance Amazon fulfillment center


A rendering of the proposed Amazon fulfillment center [Duke Realty image]

The bright television lights were off, a parade of local officials in front of microphones was not in evidence and speeches about Amazon coming to town were largely over as St. Peters officials got down to the business of providing financing that could bring thousands of jobs to the community.

The city’s Board of Aldermen voted 8-0 at its March 8 meeting to approve two separate resolutions sought by Duke Realty.

One resolution issues $75 million in industrial revenue bonds to pay for building an 855,800-square-foot center to house a new Amazon fulfillment facility that is expected to result in 1,500 new jobs. The other resolution issues $13.5 million in bonds to pay for adding 137,000 square feet of space for a new fulfillment facility for Grove Collaborative, Inc., which will create 210 new jobs. Both facilities are at Duke Realty’s Premier 370 Business Park. The Grove Collaborative facility is in a spec building built by Duke at 1000 Premier Parkway, and the Amazon facility is to be built on a lot just down the street at 4000 Premier Parkway.

Grove Collaborative is a San Francisco-based, online company that sells natural home and personal care products. Its new fulfillment facility, its third after ones in Pennsylvania and Nevada, will significantly reduce shipping times, company officials say.

But the big news – generating headlines and garnering local and national attention on March 7 – was the announcement of the first Amazon fulfillment center in Missouri and the jobs it will generate that come with an array of benefits.

State law allows municipalities to issue bonds and act as a conduits of financing. Payments cover the principal and interest on the bonds.

Alderman Patrick Barclay [Ward 4] said the resolutions offer some assurances that the city is protected if something goes wrong with the bonds. He noted that the resolutions have clauses stating that the bonds will not be a debt to the city or state of Missouri and that Duke will reimburse the city for all fees and out-of-pocket expenses if the bonds are not issued within a year.

With the passage of the resolutions, the city will provide sales tax certificates that will enable Duke to obtain state sales tax exemptions on all construction materials for both projects.

State officials say Amazon could receive $7.95 million in sales tax exemptions from the state of Missouri to support the project. State officials say as much as $2.98 million in sales tax abatement for building materials may be available for the Amazon facility. But details concerning other incentives, particularly any local tax abatement for the Amazon facility, remain to be negotiated, city officials say. Some of those incentives could be substantial.

The building of a 496,309-square-foot FedEx facility on 114 acres at the business park, approved earlier this year, prompted the city to offer a 10-year abatement of property taxes up to $5.84 million involving 10 local taxing jurisdictions and the state of Missouri. That abatement was up to half of the property taxes that would have been due. Instead, the company will make payments-in-lieu-of-taxes [PILOTS]. But City Administrator Russ Batzel said the taxes on the existing property only amounts to a few hundred dollars.

“The good news for St. Peters keeps coming,” said Mayor Len Pagano at the board meeting before the adoption of the resolutions. Pagano and aldermen lauded the work of city officials, who have been discussing the center with Amazon officials for six months and were competing for the center with Louisville, Kentucky, among other cities.

Pagano lauded the teamwork of St. Charles County and other organizations, including Ameren, Duke Realty, the state of Missouri, Missouri Partnership and the St. Louis Regional Chamber, who worked together to attract Amazon. He also praised the city’s “FasTrac” development process that he said has been key in speeding along economic development projects.

“Folks, we’re not done yet and there’s more to come,” Pagano said. “It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Matthew C. Hrubes, vice president of leasing and development for Duke Realty, said there continues to be other inquiries about lots at the 370 Premier Business Park. Current business park’s tenants include Best Buy, FedEx, Reckitt Benckiser, SAIA, Dayton Freight, and now Amazon and Grove Collaborative. The new FedEx facility is expected to generate 300 new jobs. City officials now estimate that by the summer of 2019, there will be 2,831 jobs at the park.

With the resolutions passed, construction may be close to getting underway. The city’s planning and zoning commission approved the site plan for the Amazon facility at its March 7 meeting, just hours after the center was announced. Duke and city officials say they want to have the Amazon facility finished and operational by May 2019.

The site plan includes a building that will feature glass and stone on its exterior and traffic improvements that include seven new traffic signals and lane improvements on Premier Parkway and nearby roads. The parking lot is expected to include 2,500 parking spaces and 300 spaces for truck trailers.

 

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