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Amazon will replace Cortana Mall with its newest robotics fulfilment center

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 11:18 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:57 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber announced Wednesday, June 16, the online retail giant Amazon will be opening a new fulfillment center at the former site of the Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge.

Cortana mall
Cortana mall(WAFB)

“Today, I’m delighted to announce that Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, will invest $200 million to build a major robotics fulfillment center here in Baton Rouge,” said Edwards.

For years, the people of Baton Rouge have had to face the sight of what was once a prominent part of the city but now only serves as a memory of an old town jewel.

“And today, I believe we fulfilled that promise of that prominent location returning economic activity to a strategic placement near Florida Blvd. and Airline Hwy,” added Edwards.

In the next several months, Amazon will invest $200 million in building its new facility. The company is promising 800 construction jobs and millions in payroll. It’s expected to be finished and operational by the end of 2022. Amazon says once the robotics facility is running, 1,400 positions will be filled and billions added to the state’s economy.

“These new jobs will have a starting salary of at least $15 an hour and with powerful benefits from the very first day, such as medical, dental, and visual insurance and a 401(k) savings with a 50% company match,” explained Edwards.

The old Cortana Mall will be the site of the new Amazon fulfillment center.
The old Cortana Mall will be the site of the new Amazon fulfillment center.(WAFB)

The benefits will also cover 20 weeks of maternity leave for pregnant employees, six weeks of leave to parents who adopt, and six weeks of paid parental leave that can be shared with a spouse who isn’t eligible for parental leave. Economic experts say this could generate a multi-billion-dollar boost between 2021 and 2040.

“This project undoubtedly showcases the successes of our effort to attract investments to our community,” said Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome.

That economic boost includes $50 million each year in payroll and $65 million each year in sales and property taxes. And half of that money will go towards funding public schools. Those hoping to land a job with Amazon can expect to start seeing applications posted six to eight weeks before the facility begins operations.

BRAC officials estimate the economic impact of the project will be $2.9 billion between 2021 and 2040.

“This is the one we’ve been waiting for,” said BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp. “Amazon’s project is transformational, both for creating a thousand jobs and serving as a model of intentional economic development. This has been a great team effort of state and local leadership with many public and private partners to secure this deal at this specific place. The project is meaningful for north Baton Rouge revitalization, for Mid City along Florida Boulevard, as well as for the entire region’s economy when this blighted former mall will be reinvented as a 21st century, robotics-enabled logistics hub. This is the antidote to the poison that a shuttered Cortana might easily have become.”

“Louisiana has a long and storied history as a leading state for the shipping and transport of goods. Today’s announcement by Amazon reveals a new chapter in that history, as Baton Rouge will now be home to a state-of-the-art Amazon Robotics Fulfillment Center. I am proud to welcome this new investment to Louisiana’s Capital Region, and I thank Amazon for its continued investment in our great state – the third such investment in seven months. The new jobs and opportunities created by this project will be a tremendous value to Baton Rouge and the entire state,” said Edwards.

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