“The investment and careers that Amazon will create will ripple through our economy, putting people to work and generating income for our region,” Burtner said. “This is what economic development is all about.”
Denham said Amazon should be in Winchester Plaza for about a year, and said that location would eventually employ between 150 and 200 full-time employees. The facility will be in the building where Dawahare’s clothing store used to be, and work has already begun on the space.
Winchester First United Methodist Church’s First Fire campus is located in part of the Winchester Plaza space where Amazon will move in. Denham said the church started out in a 12,000-square-foot area, and it moved its sanctuary to another 5,000-square-foot area.
“We worked very hard to ensure that the church would also be able to stay in as much of the space that they originally had as possible so that they would still have a home,” he said.
Church officials were not available this morning.
Denham said a location at the industrial park has not been finalized.
The announcement is the result of several months of work from local and state leaders.
At the end of March, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved a proposal that will give $10.25 million in Kentucky business incentives to Amazon for choosing to open the customer service center in Winchester. The agency also approved a $250,000 economic development grant agreement for the project. That money will also be issued to Amazon from the state because it has chosen to locate in Winchester.
Denham said just the 550 full-time jobs at an hourly pay rate of $15.64 will make up nearly an $18 million payroll.
That number, which doesn’t include seasonal jobs, will generate about $358,000 in payroll tax revenue. As part of the state tax incentives package, the City of Winchester will get to keep about half of that revenue, Denham said.
“As part of state tax incentives, if a company is to receive the maximum amount of state tax incentives, the local community has to put something in on that,” Denham said. “So they have to, they are participating at 1 percent, so basically half of that $358,000.”
Denham said this is the most important project he has worked on.
“It’ll mean a lot to the community, with the economic downturn in our community in 2009 and 2010, this will certainly go a long way to replacing a lot of those positions that were lost, so that’s going to be a big help,” he said.
The Winchester facility will be Amazon’s first customer service center in Kentucky. Amazon subsidiaries currently operate fulfillment centers in Louisville, Lexington, Campbellsville and Hebron.
Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham said Amazon’s choice to locate in Clark County is a testament to the community, its workforce and its capability of attracting high quality companies for investment and job creation.
“Amazon will certainly elevate our local community and region with its decision to locate its customer support service center here,” Branham said.
The state approved a proposal in March that would give $500,000 in Kentucky business incentives to Taica Corporation, a Japanese manufacturing company, should it choose to invest $8 million to locate to a facility in Winchester. To receive the full tax credit from the state, Taica would have to create 30 full-time jobs with an average hourly pay of $20 with benefits.
Taica would lease and refurbish the former Gecom building at the industrial park, which has been vacant for about two years since Gecom left.
Denham said Taica is still working on its long-term lease of the Gecom building.
“They still continue to do their due diligence, and hopefully all of it will get worked out and they will be another corporate partner for our community that will provide much needed jobs,” he said.
Amazon will host information sessions about the employment opportunities at the new customer service center on Wednesday, May 16, and Thursday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Clark County Extension Office, 1400 Fortune Drive. Prospective employees will hear an overview of the company, its customer service operation and information about how to apply for employment.
Contact Katie Perkowski at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter, @TheSunKatie.