07news industrial siteLocal government has approved incentives to encourage private investment in a $44 million distribution operation that would employ 140 full-time workers at the Cedar Creek Business Center east of Fayetteville. City and county governments have authorized incentive packages for the unnamed company, which hopes to build a 650,000-squarefoot fulfillment center in the park on NC-53 east of Fayetteville. Robert Van Geons, president and chief executive officer of the Fayetteville/Cumberland Economic Development Corp., said state officials also are considering incentives for the company in the form of state grants. A fulfillment center is a modern term for e-commerce packing warehouses. The term was coined in the middle of the 1990s and usually refers to a self-contained product packing and shipping facility.

Firms like Amazon have their own fulfillment centers, while smaller e-commerce companies outsource their warehousing, packaging and shipping to larger companies. Amazon, for one, offers to handle order processing to third-party sellers. Another example was Fingerhut, which in the 1990s expanded its own fulfillment center to take on services for other companies.

Van Geons said he expects the company, which he has not yet identified, to decide whether to locate in Cumberland County soon after the incentive deals are finalized. Conditions being offered by local and state governments have ostensibly been agreed to by the company.

“All that remains is for the state to agree,” Van Geons said. The company’s decision could come within 30 to 60 days, he said. Van Geons told county commissioners and Fayetteville City Council that the company expects to employ 18 managers, 30 clerical staff and 92 warehousemen. The managers would make an average of about $62,000 per year each, he said, while the other workers would earn from $28,000 to $32,500, plus benefits. The city and county agreed to rebate up to 75 percent of the company’s annual property taxes for seven years, according to resolutions that both bodies adopted. The county will sell 98 acres of land in the industrial park for $1.23 million, which is half a million dollars less than its fair market value. That’s a windfall for the county, which has owned the Cedar Creek Industrial Center for 18 years. It’s the same location where Sanderson farms proposed to build a poultry processing plant that would have employed 1,000 workers. County government rejected that proposal.

As part of the project, the State Department of Transportation has agreed to improve Cedar Creek Road and create a signalized intersection at the entrance to the plant. The company agreed to create at least 112 jobs by the end of 2019. Seven other jobs would have to be created in each of the next four years. “I think it sets the stage for further development there,” Cumberland County attorney Rick Moorefield said.

 

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