UPDATE: Amazon explains difference between Patterson, Tracy centers
Jan 30, 2013 | 6817 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This sign sits at the entrance of the construction site for the 1-million-square-foot Amazon.com fulfillment center. Construction crews on Wednesday, Jan. 23, were leveling the ground in preparation to begin pouring the foundation as early as Feb. 4. A similar fulfillment center is under construction at Sperry Avenue and Park Center Drive in Patterson and is expected to open sometime this summer.--Glenn Moore/Patterson Irrigator
This sign sits at the entrance of the construction site for the 1-million-square-foot Amazon.com fulfillment center. Construction crews on Wednesday, Jan. 23, were leveling the ground in preparation to begin pouring the foundation as early as Feb. 4. A similar fulfillment center is under construction at Sperry Avenue and Park Center Drive in Patterson and is expected to open sometime this summer.--Glenn Moore/Patterson Irrigator
slideshow
Amazon.com's future Patterson fulfillment center will ship some of the larger items that the online retailer handles, such as barbecues and televisions, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said this week.

By contrast, another fulfillment center in Tracy will ship smaller items, such as books and DVDs — in short, “anything that would fit in a bread box,” she said.

Cheeseman clarified the difference by phone Tuesday, Jan. 29, after Amazon.com officials announced on Jan. 22 that the company planned to open a second Northern California fulfillment center in nearby Tracy, totaling 1 million square feet. While the Patterson center is slated to open this summer, the Tracy center would open this fall.

“We’re really excited to be adding new jobs to the area,” Cheeseman said.

Amazon officials declared May 3 that a similar-sized fulfillment center would be built in Patterson at Park Center Drive and Sperry Avenue.

The Tracy facility — Amazon’s third fulfillment center in the state since October — will “create hundreds of full-time jobs with benefits,” according to a press release issued Jan. 22 by Amazon.

San Francisco-based ProLogis Inc. will build the Tracy facility on the nearly 90-acre site of ProLogis Park Tracy Phase II, off Chrisman Road.

Tracy City Manager Leon Churchill said last week that city officials see the deal as an “investment in the economic future” of Tracy. He said city officials made a “conservative estimate” that the center will employ around 1,000 people, but that the number will “most likely” fluctuate.

Patterson city officials initially made similar estimates, anticipating in January 2012 that 1,500 employees would work at the Patterson fulfillment center. Amazon officials announced in May, however, that the center would employ only hundreds of people.

While company representatives have remained vague about employment figures, a press release issued Oct. 18 by Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development indicated that the Patterson center would have 350 employees.

Recruitment has not begun for either the Patterson site or the Tracy site.

Patterson City Manager Rod Butler urged caution regarding employment estimates from Tracy officials.

The news release Amazon.com produced in conjunction with the city of Tracy last week was “shockingly similar to one released in May of last year here (in Patterson),” he said.

Patterson city staff members had "been burned" in the past by making estimates based upon the number of employees working at other similar fulfillment centers, he said.

Both Patterson and Tracy could benefit from sales tax on merchandise shipped from their Amazon fulfillment centers under a law that was approved by the state legislature in 2011 and went into effect in September.

Internet retailers are required to collect anywhere from 7.5 percent sales tax to 10 percent, depending on what local taxes apply, for all purchases that are shipped from California warehouses to locations within the state.

If no other tax-sharing agreement with Amazon is in place, the city of Patterson would receive 1 cent in sales tax for every $1 in purchases from the local fulfillment center, and the state would collect 6.5 cents. The remaining 0.125 cent would support the Stanislaus County Library system.

The Tracy City Council approved a tax incentive program in December 2011 that may apply to its Amazon center.

If Amazon qualifies and is approved, that city would annually return 50 percent of the company’s city sales tax share on gross sales up to $200 million. The company could be eligible to receive up to 80 percent of its annual city sales tax for any sales exceeding $200 million.

Patterson has no tax-sharing programs in place.

Butler said he had not spoken with Amazon.com officials about tax sharing, but he would be willing to discuss the idea and have the City Council consider it. He gained a knowledge of tax sharing programs when he previously worked in Southern California, he said.

Joel Danoy and Jonathan Partridge contributed to this report. Contact an Irrigator reporter or editor at 892-6187 or news@pattersonirrigator.com.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet


We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at news@pattersonirrigator.com.