Dillard's Internet Fulfillment Center for Maumelle Will Employ 'Over 300'

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 9:58 am  

A view of the 852,000-SF center from Google Maps.

(More: Click here for a THVideo report from "Today's THV at Noon," featuring Arkansas Business Internet Editor Lance Turner on Dillard's plans for Maumelle.)

Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock on Wednesday officially announced plans to take over the former Target Corp. distribution center in Maumelle, which will employ more than 300 people and be the department store chain's largest such facility.

"We are tremendously pleased to announce our new Maumelle Internet Fulfillment Center," Dillard's President Alex Dillard said in a news release. "This new high-tech facility will be optimally equipped with advanced distribution and fulfillment capabilities to support the growth of our Internet store at Dillard's.com."

Dillard's expects the center to be fully operational by late 2012, although the company will have a presence there before then, according to Scott Hardin of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Hardin said the 852,000-SF facility needed a lot of renovation work.

Target closed the center as it made companywide spending cuts in 2009. At the time, 500 people worked there. At its peak, the center employed 800 people.

ArkansasBusiness.com reported on Dillard's plans on Tuesday.

In the news release, Dillard's said the center would support "the continuing growth of its online store." Dillard's has another Internet fulfillment center in Nashville. It is 285,000 SF.

Gov. Mike Beebe, along with Alex Dillard and Maumelle Mayor Mike Watson, announced the deal Wednesday morning at the Jess Odom Community Center in Maumelle.

"We carefully considered several different locations in other cities and states for our new fulfillment center and there were many possible outcomes of this extensive review process," Dillard said in the news release. "However, many people worked with us in making our home state of Arkansas, and specifically Maumelle, the obvious choice for this high-tech facility."

The governor contributed $2 million from his Quick Action Closing Fund as further incentive.

The department store chain said the Maumelle center will use "highly advanced" robotics and be designed with improvements in ergonomics, noise reduction and safety. The company also said the facility will use less power due and have advanced energy efficient lighting systems. 

Leasing and Tax Incentives

On Monday, the Maumelle City Council approved a 30-year, $42 million bond issue to purchase and renovate the 852,000-SF building at 600 Carnahan Drive for The Higbee Co., a subsidiary that Dillard's owns.

Maumelle's bond issue will allow the city to purchase the property and building from Target and lease it to Dillard's.

Tuesday night, the Pulaski County Quorum Court approved a resolution endorsing the Dillard's center to receive state tax credits under the Consolidated Incentive Act of 2003. The resolution said Dillard's plans a capital investment in the facility of about $41.5 million.

Watson told ArkansasBusiness.com news partner Today's THV that the deal has been in the works for the last four months.

"There is no city tax dollars being used," Watson said in a report available here. "It will all come back to the Higbee company to the bond holders to pay for the purchase of the building and renovations of the building."

As of Jan. 30, Dillard's had six distribution centers, including a 400,000-SF center in Mabelvale. Other centers were in Gilbert, Ariz.; Valdosta, Ga.; Olathe, Kan.; Salisbury, N.C.; and Fort Worth, Texas. In all, it had about 2.6 million-SF of distribution space.

Publicly traded department store chain Dillard's (NYSE: DDS) purchased the Higbee department store chain in 1989. Higbee's had a dozen department stores in Ohio that were later rebranded as Dillard's stores.

 

 

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