By

Ethan Steinquest

[email protected]

Retail and tech giant Amazon is expected to open a facility in Mt. Juliet in spring 2021, but they may have some competition.

A nationally known logistics and e-commerce client, currently unidentified, is looking at investing roughly $70 million into a 400,000-square-foot facility in the area. Wilson County’s Joint Economic and Community Development Board is helping them explore two potential sites for the build, which has been named Project Blue Bird.

“Blue Bird has zeroed in on Speedway Industrial Park,” JECDB Executive Director G.C. Hixson said at the organization’s meeting Thursday. “I’m getting calls from construction companies and calls from all the Realtors, so it appears to me that they’ll pull the trigger this month.”

Hixson said the projected investment is large compared to the facility’s scale because of the quality of life the company aims to provide workers.

“That means underground cooling systems, solar panels, things that are the philosophy of the company,” he said. “Not your typical warehouse distribution-type group. I can’t identify the company coming right now, but if I did, you’d realize their brand. It’s a good project, and I think that’ll be our first one this year to go on the board.”

Amazon itself is moving forward with the site it purchased in Mt. Juliet, which is expected to provide 1,000 jobs once the facility opens.

“We have done all the grant applications that the state asked us to do, and we’ve submitted those to them to be prepared,” Hixson said. “That’s $250 million in investment that will be on the tax roll in 2021.”

Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash also provided an update on Kroger’s request for tax relief as the company looks to expand its Lebanon location. Representatives had previously come before the JECDB, and the Lebanon City Council discussed the possibility at its Jan. 2 work session.

“We’re not going to do anything,” Ash said. “As it progresses, we might help with some of the fees or something, but I doubt we’ll do anything on taxes. We didn’t want to set a precedent.”

Kroger does not have a timetable or floor plan in place for the expansion, but Ash said the store has projected an additional 40,000 square feet, $1.5 million in annual payroll and 50 new jobs.

The JECDB’s next meeting is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Jan. 28, at 200 Aviation Way, Suite 202, in Lebanon.