Preparations Begin for FedEx Ground Distribution Facility on Lakeshore Parkway

A plan to build a FedEx Ground distribution facility on Lakeshore Parkway was unveiled at the Jefferson County Commission committee meeting Tuesday.

The plan, previously known as Project Fish, is for an approximately 290,000-square-foot distribution facility that will be constructed on a 46.01-acre site off Lakeshore Parkway.

Bradley attorney Trey Hill said that about 70% of the site is in the corporate limits of the city of Birmingham and 30% in the city of Bessemer.

“Having a site that crosses municipal lines, as you might expect, does present some challenges with who will be responsible for collecting and who will receive certain taxes like occupational taxes and business license taxes,” Hill said, “which city will be responsible for providing fire, police and paramedic protection.” He said Birmingham and Bessemer are cooperating on an intergovernmental agreement that would control how those issues are handled.

FedEx Ground plans to retain and relocate 12 full-time and 49 part-time employees from its existing facility in Birmingham. Added to that, the company will employ 27 full-time and 197 part-time employees within three years for a total of 285 workers. Payroll will be roughly $6 million.

The FedEx Ground project is the latest distribution center for the metro area, following the Amazon distribution center in Bessemer and a possible distribution center at the former Century Plaza location. The Birmingham City Council rezoned the mall site for industrial use last week, setting the stage for an unnamed company – possibly Amazon – to tear down the current structures and build a package distribution center.

Commission Development Committee Chairman Steve Ammons, who took in today’s meeting from home, said the metro area could be on its way to becoming a distribution hub.

“I think it’s growing, and I think you’re going to see more of it coming,” he said in a telephone conversation. “We’ve had some potential projects here that were coming a little bit before the pandemic started, before we went into quarantine. They’re popping back up now.”

“We have available land and available workforce so we’re not only going to become a distribution hub,” ­Ammons said, “but I think we’re going to become more on the manufacturing side as well.”

Jefferson County is proposing to offer tax abatements at two levels, for costs of the developer and costs of FedEx Ground, Ammons said. He said the developer’s construction-related taxes are project to be $55,049, non-education ad valorem taxes $162,601, and mortgage and recovery taxes $906. FedEx Ground’s construction-related taxes are projected to be $34,400 and non-education ad valorem taxes $8,894.

The matter was moved to the agenda of the commission meeting on Thursday. That meeting will be at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Bessemer.

Bessemer agreed to improve Lakeshore Parkway from the entrance to the site at the Birmingham city limits all the way to U.S. 150, at a cost of about $670,000.