The Future Of Industry In Fresno

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By this time next year a new massive multi million dollar Amazon Fulfillment Center will be up and running in Fresno. It promises to bring jobs, tax revenue and new opportunities to Fresno. CBS 47 Eyewitness News traveled to Sacramento and Tracy to see how their fulfillment centers are working. This is Amazon The king of E-commerce.  And as you can see in this time lapse video..  With Amazon speed… Its quickly coming to Fresno.
“These guys put them up quick. I mean this is money.. The sooner the money starts coming in”, says Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. 
To Amazon, this June 19th Fresno ground breaking ceremony was the start of another 
Fulfillment Center, but to Fresno It’s a Fulfillment of something much bigger” says Mayor Brand. “When you look at this what do you see? I see the future of fresno.. ” 
The future of Fresno?  Yep… They’re calling this the “Cougar Project..”
We’ll explain why in a moment..
But first,  What will Fresno’s Fulfillment Center look like when it’s done ? We decided to drive to Sacramento to find out. Roughly one year after they broke ground Sacramento’s Fulfillment Center at’ Metro Air Park’   Is almost done. It’s almost identical to the $200 million dollar – 855 – thousand square foot fulfillment center being built in Fresno..
On August the 10th – Amazon held a media tour.. And invited us to tag along.
” Hey how are you?  Good. How’s it going? Elmer.. Good morning.. Good morning.. ”  
” Now before we start the tour…”
The first thing you notice is the sheer size of the facility.
Its cavernous. Huge.Four stories tall. Roughly – the size of 28 NFL stadiums.
” Fresno will have a very similar fulfillment center as the building we’re in right now in Sacramento” says Ashley Robinson of Amazon Operations.
The next thing you notice are the robots. They work 20-hours a day Every day Seven days a week. That same efficiency is the key to a quick ‘built-out ‘ on these massive centers
I asked Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna what his advice is for Fresno.
” Be nimble.. I can’t emphasis that enough.. ” says Phil Serna of the Sacramento County Board Of Supervisors Translation: Cut the red tape.  Act quickly.  This is E-commerce.
Like Fresno.. This Sacramento Fulfillment Center means jobs Tracy is a fast growing city about an hour from the Bay Area also has thousands of Amazon jobs .. 
We paid them a visit too. “So, welcome to our Tracy Fulfillment Center.. Ken.. This is it huge. Yes. This center is over one million square feet..”
The city of Tracy – whose motto is ‘Think inside the Triangle”  already has two massive fulfillment centers in their ” International Park of Commerce…” ” Its humongous.. Its great.. “And they want more…” Don’t want to be too greedy right? Want to give some to the city of Fresno”   Like Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.. Tracy Mayor Robert Rickman knows Amazon means jobs… And tax revenue.” Our sales tax percentages went up approximately 35%  ” 
“E-commerce is one of the big players that brings a lot of that revenue in”
 Why did amazon pick Tracy.. Or Fresno to expand? Land and location are the keys tracy’s ‘triangle.’  Flanked by interstate 5 the 580 and the 205  – its a perfect shipping location for e-commerce. And .. It turns out.. Fresno has its own ‘triangle’, Our triangle is the ‘ North Point Business Park ‘  Flanked by Highway 41 – Central Avenue- and Highway 99. ” In the model of e-commerce it’s about how far can they go in a day.. Mexico border.. Seattle washington.. To Salt Lake City ” says Mayor Brand. For Fresno.. That E-commerce model means 15-hundred jobs – Maybe a lot more..
“The good thing about these jobs is they pay about 15 dollars an hour.. With full benefits.. Health.. Dental.. 401K.. Education reimbursement..  So, roughly 95% of our population qualifies for these jobs…” says Mayor Brand. Fresno’s Center will handle mostly small items. Books, electronic devices and small toys.
” So this is it?  Yes, this is the architectural elevation.. Related to the amazon project..  Project Cougar” “Why do they call it project cougar?  Because ulta was project cheetah” 
Ulta beauty.  The nation’s largest cosmetic retailer – is project Cheetah.
Their 670,000 square foot E-commerce Center – will be neighbors with Amazon in Fresno’s ‘Triangle’ at North Point Business Park. And the Mayor wants more. ” I’d like to see ten.. Not just Amazon’s I’d like to see best buy.. Other stores.. Walmart.. Anybody who has e-commerce”  But.. Will all those E-commerce jobs – hurt brick and mortar malls in Fresno? 
” I think mall’s are trying to transition themselves into more of a destination..  Center ”  says Shelby Burcham, from Tracy’s Economic Development Department.
Tracy’s solution?  Incentives to help their mall evolve. ” Our mall is doing fantastic.. And we’re very good partners with them” In Tracy – they’re seeing more ‘ spin-off ‘ brick and mortar stores. More Entertainment Centers.. Restaurants.. And Hotels… Made possible by an expanding workforce and tax base. Fresno gave Amazon generous tax rebates capped at 30-million dollars – to help secure the project.  The state helped too .. with rebates through the Governor’s ‘Go-Biz ‘ program. The city plans recoup those rebates many  ‘ times over ‘  – with the economic ‘ripple effect’ from the center..

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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