Chewy seeks incentives to create 1,600-job distribution center in Belton

Belton’s latest prospective e-commerce tenant is poised to result in wagging tails and purrs among the area’s furry residents.

Chewy Inc., an online retailer of pet supplies based in Dania Beach, Fla., is seeking city and state incentives to build a 796,000-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center, with the ability to expand up to 215,000 additional square feet in Southview Commerce Center — NorthPoint Development’s 148-acre industrial park along Interstate 49.

Belton City Council members are scheduled to vote Tuesday evening on a final plat for the commerce center and a development and performance agreement with Chewy (NYSE: CHWY).

To retain proposed incentives from Belton, Chewy must meet yearly job thresholds at its fulfillment center, culminating in 1,600 jobs paying an average salary of at least $32,641 by 2023.

As part of the development agreement, city officials also will consider whether to issue up to $70 million in industrial development revenue bonds, providing Chewy a 10-year personal property tax abatement on project equipment — at 100% for three years, 95% for another three years and 90% for four years — valued at $8.5 million.

Under the agreement, Chewy also would receive a sales and use tax exemption on its project equipment purchases .

Under its proposed agreement with Belton, Chewy will make $121,092 in payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) to affected taxing jurisdictions, starting in 2024.

Separately, the Missouri Development Finance Board on Tuesday morning approved a resolution of intent to issue Chewy $2.8 million in bonds over 10 years through the state’s Business Use Incentives for Large-scale Development (BUILD) program.

The funds will assist Chewy with equipment purchases for the fulfillment center, which could start construction Aug. 1 and commence operations in June 2021, according to the company’s state application.

The fulfillment center represents a $143 million capital investment and will support 800 jobs in its first year, per the application.

Without the BUILD incentives, Chewy could instead have chosen to locate its facility in Memphis, state Department of Economic Development staff wrote in an application review.

The company also intends to apply for $3.9 million in incentives over five years through the state’s Missouri Works program.

Chewy currently has nine fulfillment centers, with three more under construction, from which the company delivers roughly 60,000 different pet products to customers across the United States, its state application says.

Northpoint Development previously has built fulfillment centers for the company behind in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

If the company fully achieved the hiring goals outlined in city documents, it would rank among the top 25 companies on the Kansas City Business Journal‘s Private-Sector Employers List.

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