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Marion County officials discuss possible FedEx hub

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On Tuesday, the Marion County Board of Commissioners will meet to discuss the construction of a FedEx distribution hub in Ocala.

Kathy Bryant, chairwoman of the board, said the idea came about when FedEx was looking for a new distribution hub and began working with developers of the property.

The facility would be built on 150 acres of the Ocala/Marion County Commerce Park, located along Interstate 75.

“That property is a piece that had gone into a tri-party agreement: the developer, the city and the county, to develop that commerce part,” Bryant said. “Now the developer and FedEx have come to the city and the county with some economic incentive to make that work.” Bryant said.

This agreement also includes an estimated $3.47 million to lure the company to Ocala. The city will cover $1.08 million, and the county will cover $2.39 million, according to Ocala.com.

In a community where the unemployment rate was an average of 14.3 percent in 2010, Bryant said the biggest benefit of this agreement is the potential job creation from the distribution hub.

“They’re talking about 165 jobs at the onset and then I’m hearing numbers of up to 1,000 jobs within four years. So the huge advantage of course is putting people back to work and then also what that does for the economic base here in Marion County,” she said.

The property will need some redevelopment before the distribution center could be built.

“I believe it’s TECO that has a major gas line that runs through the property that would have to be moved,” Bryant said.

TECO Energy is a leading energy company located in Tampa, according to its website.

Ocala.com wrote if the agreement is passed construction should begin no later than July 31, 2014 and completed no later than Oct. 31, 2016.

“It is on our agenda, and our board will have a discussion on it to vote on it on Tuesday. If there is anything they think needs to be changed they will change and then they will get back to FedEx,” Bryant said.

April Lanuza contributed to this story. 

 

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