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Construction equipment from Emery Sapp & Sons moved onto the development site in late September.
Photo provided by city of Republic
Construction equipment from Emery Sapp & Sons moved onto the development site in late September.

Republic lands Amazon, public records confirm

Posted online

The large-scale distribution center and warehouse underway in north Republic is being constructed for Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), public records confirmed.

The city on Oct. 28 released a July nondisclosure agreement with Amazon, in response to a Sunshine Law public records request from Springfield Business Journal. The development, teased late last month by the city without a tenant identified, had been rumored as an Amazon facility, but SBJ previously was unable to confirm the e-commerce corporation is putting down roots in the Ozarks. City spokesperson Mike Landis has continually cited the NDA for declining to name the tenant.

The NDA states, in part, that the city "acknowledges that a breach of its obligations under this agreement could cause irreparable harm to Amazon" and that the e-commerce company "will have the right ... to seek injunctive relief for any violation of this agreement."

Landis said ground work at the development site – Highway MM and Sawyer Road – began Sept. 29 and that "construction is progressing very rapidly." He said no timelines or square footage details of the project have been announced, and the public records released to SBJ did not provide them.

However, a notice of intent for an Enhanced Enterprise Zone released as part of the Sunshine request shows an estimated real property investment for the building of $25 million. That same figure is noted as an expected investment in machinery and equipment, though the total real property investment for the land is marked as "TBD."

The EEZ notice also points to 500 new full-time jobs with a starting wage of $15 per hour related to the project. The city in late September posted a photo of construction equipment with Emery Sapp & Sons' logos. Online job listings indicate Amazon is hiring in the Springfield area.

The development is utilizing the Project Lunker code name, according to Republic City Council documents. Amazon has used similar code names in other markets, according to SBJ research.

Atlanta-based Seefried Industrial Properties Inc. is serving as developer for the project in the Garton Business Park, according to city documents. Seefried's website shows build-to-suit developments for Amazon in Alabama, California and Wisconsin, and the company recently completed an Amazon fulfillment center in Stone Mountain, Georgia, that was dubbed Project Rocket, according to media reports.

Drury University currently owns the land – roughly 133 acres that includes the Garton Business Park and the portion slated for the Amazon development, according to Greene County assessor records. SBJ previously reported that the private school was gifted the land. An official with the university declined to comment on the construction or whether a deal was in the works for the land. The Garton Business Park is a project by Rankin Development, whose operator Tom Rankin also declined to comment on the new development prior to the release of documents under the Sunshine Law request.

Amazon spokesperson Daniel Martin would only say the company "is proud of the investments we’ve made in Missouri."

"To date, we have created over 4,500 jobs and have invested over $780 million across the state including infrastructure and compensation to our employees," he said in a statement. "Amazon is constantly investigating new locations to support the growth and increase the flexibility of its North American fulfillment network to address customers’ needs."

The Amazon development joins another large project in Republic from Springfield-based international humanitarian relief organization Convoy of Hope. The nonprofit is building a 230,000-square-foot distribution center on 135 acres it purchased at the Republic and Springfield border, according to past reporting.

Additionally, Ozarks Technical Community College this fall started its first semester in the new $7.3 million Republic Center on 7.7 acres at 584 W. U.S. Highway 60. Other projects in the area include a medical marijuana dispensary from Easy Mountain Cannabis, a microbrewery dubbed Wire Road Brewery and the $1.1 million Republic Animal Control Center, SBJ previously reported.

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