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Amazon plans Beloit warehouse, earth work to begin next week

The online retailer Amazon could begin moving dirt for a new 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Beloit next week after city officials recently advanced plans for the project.

It’s the third big warehouse project the retail giant has developed or is developing in Wisconsin. Amazon now operates a warehouse in Kenosha and has construction underway on a similar-sized center in Oak Creek. Still further plans call for building yet another fulfillment center, this one slightly smaller, in the village of Sussex.

In Beloit, local officials said earlier this week that they would be selling the Atlanta-based development firm Seefried Industrial Properties 80 acres of land in the city’s Gateway Business Park for $1 an acre. Seefried, which plans to build a 1 million-square-foot structure at the site, has worked on Amazon projects before, but not in Wisconsin. Lori Curtis Luther, Beloit city manager, confirmed during a Beloit Common Council meeting on Monday that Amazon will occupy the new building.

Andrew Janke, executive director of the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp., told the common council that grading work could begin at the site as early as next week, and that the company hopes to have construction completed by late September 2020.

That’s true even though Seefried has yet to close on the property. City officials declined to comment on  the land deal until it’s complete.

“We are thrilled about the opportunities this development will provide our community and beyond,” Janke said in a statement.

Unlike Amazon’s project in Kenosha and Oak Creek, the proposal in Beloit isn’t in line to benefit from tax incentives. In Oak Creek, Amazon stands to receive $7 million worth of state tax credits in return for its plans for a four-story, 2.6 million-square-foot warehouse, on which construction started earlier this year. The city itself could reimburse the project developer for $13.4 million worth of infrastructure costs. But to receive those credits, the company has to spend more than $200 million on the project.

Amazon completed its first Wisconsin warehouse in 2015, its 1.5 million-square-foot building along Interstate 94 in Kenosha. The company also moved this summer to occupy more of a Sussex warehouse where it now rents space, and operates yet another center on Miller Park Way in Milwaukee.

In Beloit, Seefried is seeking to have its land deal completed in the next 30 to 180 days. The company or its client is under an obligation to pay for any infrastructure work that a pending traffic study finds is needed to support the project, according to the city. Amazon would occupy a site south of where Gateway Boulevard meets Colley Road in Beloit.

Although the land deal in Beloit isn’t yet complete, work at the site is expected to begin as early as Tuesday. The development agreement approved by city officials this week allows contractors to operate at the site longer than normal, from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

City officials said it will release more details about the deal once the land sale is final.

“This proposed development would provide our community with increased property value, which will benefit all of Beloit,” Luther said in a statement.

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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