Today, Amazon made it official: The retail giant will build a $250-million regional fulfillment center in Salt Lake City’s budding Northwest Quadrant, bringing with it at least 1,500 full time well-paying jobs, with the possibility of thousands more in seasonal positions.
Until today, Amazon officials had kept specifics of the planned 855,000-square foot facility a closely held secret, though in an earlier announcement Governor Gary Herbert credited Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the City’s Economic Development team with helping to lure the business to Salt Lake City.
Amazon is the first major business to announce plans to locate in the Northwest Quadrant – 3,670 acres west of Salt Lake City International Airport. Mayor Biskupski unveiled a robust two-year plan to begin developing the property for light industry on December 5, 2016. The land sits 15 minutes from the airport, interstate highway exchanges, railways, and the downtown core, making it a top economic and job development opportunity for the City.
Today’s announcement also coincides with the one-year anniversary of the Mayor’s creation of a stand-alone, Cabinet-level Department of Economic Development. Over the last year, the new department has played a critical role in attracting 13 new companies to the Capital City, resulting in 3.35 million square feet of development, approximately 4,500 jobs, and $607 million in capital investment.
“This is an incredible ‘get’ for Salt Lake City and the state of Utah, and we couldn’t be more excited to host Amazon in this project. I knew that by making economic development a key piece of my Administration, our City would see big dividends,” said Mayor Biskupski.
“Salt Lake City and Amazon are the perfect match,” she said. “We are both focused on excellent customer service, resiliency, investment in employment, and on our local community.”
Economic Development Director Lara Fritts came to her new position last year focused on building a team that would provide full support for businesses large and small.
“To a person, everyone in our City with a hand in the Amazon process committed to working directly with the company every step of the way,” Lara said. “We have thoughtfully walked company representatives through permitting and many other steps, taking care to meet their deadlines, respond to their needs, and to ensure ongoing progress.”
“Team Utah” – made up of the Salt Lake City Economic Development team, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the non-profit Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCU) worked together to land the Amazon contract.
Salt Lake City began engagement with Amazon in December 2016. Mayor Biskupski and Lara then visited the company’s Seattle headquarters on March 3rd with the governor and GOED and EDCU leaders.
“I was sure we could sell Salt Lake City with its unique beauty, relatively low cost of living, and our educated, dedicated workforce,” the Mayor said.
“But the added value has been our commitment to developing the Northwest Quadrant, and our customer-centered City employees. We are truly stepping up and revolutionizing the way business is done and won in Salt Lake City.”
On June 8th, in announcing initial details of the Amazon deal, Governor Herbert revealed Utah had been competing with six other states for landing the facility. He acknowledged Mayor Biskupski’s role in the recruitment effort.
“The Mayor put on her best ‘come to Utah’ smile,” the governor said.
Amazon began in 1994 as a web-based bookseller. Its expansion has become the stuff of entrepreneurial legend. In March 2017, Forbes magazine reported the company’s worth in excess of $400 billion. In the past three years, the company’s stock value has climbed by 41 percent each year.
In addition to Amazon’s project, shipping giant UPS broke ground in February on an 840,000-square foot regional distribution center on the City’s northwest side, adjacent to the Northwest Quadrant boundary.