In a city with few economic development wins, the redevelopment of the former Cortana Mall site into a massive Amazon fulfillment center represents a significant victory for Baton Rouge.
For starters, there’s the size and scale of the project—a 3.5 million-square-foot facility that will cost some $300 million to develop, process some 500,000 packages a day for the e-retail giant, and employ more than 3,000 mostly full-time workers, not including thousands of drivers, who will work for the company on a contract basis, and part-time seasonal workers.
There are the infrastructure improvements that will come to the area as a result of the redevelopment—upgrades to roads and drainage, signal lights and CATS bus routes. Eventually, even the airport could benefit from the project, if Amazon’s expansion in the area continues and it begins flying Amazon Air to and from Baton Rouge.
Perhaps above all are the ripple effects the project will have in an area of the city that has been slowly dying for a long time.
But while the redevelopment of the Cortana site into a fulfillment center for the largest e-retailer in the world is, perhaps, one of the best outcomes city-parish officials could have hoped for when they were trying to figure out what to do with the abandoned mall site, the ways that Baton Rouge will benefit from Amazon’s arrival are not 100% clear, and there will be costs.
Read Business Report’s latest cover package about the online retailer’s potential impacts on the city.