Amazon gets tax breaks for Reno plant | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Amazon gets tax breaks for Reno plant

by Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

Amazon, which opened in Fernley in the 1990s, has announced plans to move its operations to Reno.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development board on Friday approved tax breaks for Amazon.com for its new distribution center in Reno.

The company is closing its Fernley plant and moving to a 100,000-square-foot warehouse on Old 395 North in Reno.

Amazon Executive Director for Development Mike Grella told the board headed by Gov. Brian Sandoval the new plant is a completely different operation than the Fernley operation, focusing on handling large-sized purchases such as big flat-screen TVs. The Fernley plant dealt with the hundreds of thousands of much smaller items that could typically be loaded into trays on a conveyor belt.

"It's a completely different inventory," he said.

But Grella said all the Fernley employees are being given the opportunity to move to the new plant in similar positions and will be provided the necessary training for their new jobs.

"It's important that we allow everybody to keep their jobs," Grella said.

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The company plans to open the new operation in 2015.

The board agreed to abate all but the constitutionally imposed 2 percent sales tax, abate 50 percent of the Modified Business Tax for four years and half the personal property tax for 10 years.

Altogether, that will cost $1.36 million in taxes.

But the company is putting in a total of $28 million in capital equipment and building improvements.

In addition, the board approved tax abatements designed to bring Catamaran LLC to Las Vegas.

Mike Shapiro of Catamaran told the board the company is one of the nations largest providers of pharmaceutical benefit services, serving some 35 million people including managing the pharmacy services for state of Nevada employees.

The company, he said, is making a huge investment in Southern Nevada with $46.5 million in equipment and capital investment along with $17 million in building improvements.

Catamaran intends to employ 200 people as soon as the plant opens and up to 353 within the next two years at an average wage of $23.10 an hour.

The Catamaran deal also includes $900,000 in Catalyst Fund money, which was voted on separately because the constitutionality of that funding is being challenged. Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki abstained from that portion of the vote.

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