Few additional details in development agreement

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Photo provided This satellite image shows the property where a proposed Amazon warehouse could be built in Beloit.

BELOIT - Few details about the proposed Amazon warehouse distribution center in Beloit are listed in the development agreement that was approved Monday by the Beloit City Council, according to records obtained by the Beloit Daily News.

The project even has a code name: Project W, according to the purchase and sale agreement document.

The development agreement does not list the anticipated economic impact of the potential 1 million square-foot Amazon warehouse distribution center at an 80-acre site southeast of the Gateway Boulevard-Colley Road intersection (see accompanying site diagram).

The only mention of Amazon came verbally at the Greater Beloit Economic Development's Corporation's special executive committee meeting by GBEDC Executive Director Andrew Janke and later at the council meeting by City Manager Lori Curtis Luther on Monday.

At the GBEDC meeting, Janke said the Amazon warehouse distribution center would be made up of 1 million square-feet on the 80-acre property, while the purchase and sale agreement shows the "industrial warehouse facility consisting of at least approximately 750,000 square-feet."

All records obtained by the Beloit Daily News only reference Seefried Industrial Properties, an Atlanta-based development firm that purchased the Gateway Business Park land from GBEDC.

Seefried has a background of building multiple warehouse facilities for Amazon across the country. A representative for Seefried could not be reached for comment as of press time Wednesday.

Luther said due to the fact the city's development agreement with Seefried does not include any local tax credits, details tied to total jobs created, estimated annual gross wages and proposed real and personal property investments were not included in the document.

Members of the city administration, Luther and Janke included, are bound by non-disclosure agreements related to the project until closing on the property. On Wednesday morning, Luther said the city is still working on getting the development agreement signed, noting the purchase and sale agreement, along with other supporting documents were signed Tuesday. Seefried will have 120 to 180 days for an inspection period that allows the development company to enter the property, and Seefried has agreed to restore the property if the project ultimately falls through.

The GBEDC has a right-of-first refusal to reclaim the property, at Seefried's expense, after five years if the project fails, according to the purchase and sale agreement.

The deal anticipates closing on or before 30 days following the expiration of the inspection period.

The claim of no local incentives is backed up in the purchase and sale agreement, with a subsection explaining ad valorem property taxes will still be collected at the property. In March, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) approved $7.5 million in state tax credits for Amazon with the potential for funds to be used on future projects which could include the Beloit proposal.

Seefried is also obligated to make any traffic infrastructure upgrades if changes are found in a traffic study that's currently underway at the site. All traffic improvements are required to be made within one year from the date that engineering plans and specifications are approved by the city, according to the development agreement.

The four properties that make up the 80-acre parcel are zoned general manufacturing, of which warehouse and distribution-type facilities are permitted uses, according to city zoning records.

Construction could start as soon as next week, with Seefried allowed into the property to conduct certain grading work at the site.

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