Charlotte may spend millions to bring Amazon distribution center near the airport

The City Council Monday will consider millions of dollars of incentives for Amazon, which is planning to build 2.5 million square feet of space north of the airport.
The City Council Monday will consider millions of dollars of incentives for Amazon, which is planning to build 2.5 million square feet of space north of the airport. Charlotte Observer

The city of Charlotte is close to finalizing a $13.4 million incentive deal with Amazon to build a 2.5-million-square-foot distribution center on 100 acres north of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The airport said it's the biggest development nearby since Norfolk Southern railroad moved its intermodal yard there four years ago.

The city of Charlotte has named the development "Project Quattro." It has not named the firm, but two officials familiar with the negotiations said Amazon is the company that's planning to expand near the airport. The officials wanted to remain unnamed because they agreed to not name the company until the deal is finalized.

The NC NAACP urges Apple and Amazon to stay away from North Carolina because of a law allowing four mostly white towns in Mecklenburg County to create their own charter schools and a proposed constitutional amendment requiring voter ID at polls.

The online retail giant is also building a distribution center in Kannapolis and has one open in Concord. It also has a receiving center on Old Dowd Road near the airport, and a distribution center in Lexington County in South Carolina.

As more people subscribe to Amazon Prime, its two-day delivery service, the company has found it's more important to have more distribution centers closer to people's homes.

Earlier this year, Charlotte was not named one of 20 finalists for HQ2, a second Amazon headquarters that would have brought tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. The distribution center will bring hundreds of jobs that pay far less, one official said, but the jobs would come with good benefits.

The city has been focused on improving economic mobility, and officials believe the Amazon jobs would give low-income residents a boost.

The project will be just south of Interstate 85 and just east of Interstate 485. The airport created a master plan for the airport and surrounding land, and has a vision that the airport will become a mix of industrial and commercial uses. Most of the land near the airport today is undeveloped or is home to abandoned buildings and closed businesses.

"This is the biggest project we have had since our master plan," said aviation director Brent Cagle.

Council members have already tentatively approved incentives for Project Quattro in closed session.

The City Council will consider Monday incentives worth $21 million to bring a new firm to land north of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. City of Charlotte

Council members Monday night will consider several items related to the development. Council members will vote on selling land valued at $7.5 million to the firm, which is being identified as CF Hippolyta Charlotte LLC.

That LLC was formed in April, according to the N.C. secretary of state. Its main address is in New York City.

The airport plans to reimburse the firm $4.4 million to design and build a new realignment of Tuckaseegee Road and to build a new thoroughfare called Todd Road. The city also plans to reimburse the company $9 million for other infrastructure work. That money would be paid back using new property taxes from the project.

Amazon could receive other incentives from Mecklenburg County and the state.


An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the city would be giving Amazon land valued at $7.5 million. The company will buy the property from the city for $7.5 million.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs