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More distribution capacity coming for online leader


Walmart’s online business may have gained ground this holiday season, but doesn’t plan to cede its leadership position, and this week announced plans for two new distribution facilities.

Both fulfillment centers are slated to open next fall near Richmond, Virginia in Chesterfield and Dinwiddie counties at a combined cost of $135 million. The location affords Amazon convenient access to a major East Coast port ideally positioned to capitalize on the increased flow of goods that will result from the widening of the Panama Canal. Amazon’s commitment to the Richmond area was a coup for politicians and economic development officials who touted the sizable investment and creation of 1,350 new jobs.

“This project that includes a $135 million investment and more than 1,350 new jobs is a tremendous win for the greater Richmond region,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. “Amazon is known all over the world, and the new centers in Chesterfield and Dinwiddie counties will fulfill orders across the United States. The establishment of these new operations is testament to the positive business climate and success the company has experienced in the commonwealth.”

There’s that and it probably didn’t hurt that the commonwealth provided the type of incentives that tend to rankle those who question why large, successful corporations, especially those who don’t collect sales taxes, should be provided any type of incentive. In Amazon’s case, Governor McDonnell approved a total of $3.5 million in grants from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist both Chesterfield County and Dinwiddie County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $850,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the Dinwiddie County project. The company is also eligible to receive benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment and training activities.

Despite the incentives, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Jim Cheng, said, “Chesterfield and Dinwiddie counties were chosen for this significant project due to the ease and speed with which the facilities can be built and become operational. In addition, the skill and availability of the region’s work force were key factors.

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