Fresno and Visalia, two cities in central California, are in the running for a one-million-square-foot packaging and distribution center for Nordstrom.com purchases made on the West Coast that could bring at least 1,000 full-time jobs to the region, The Fresno Bee reported this week.
Last month, the retailer posted a third-quarter increase in online sales of 11 percent and it expects e-commerce sales to increase 10 percent each year. To that end, its three existing fulfillment centers—in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and San Bernardino, California—are being pushed to their limits.
Fresno officials said they were first approached by Nordstrom last June and were asked to approve a sales-tax sharing agreement that would return up to $10 million to the retailer based on the overall number of local jobs created by the new center.
On Thursday, the Fresno City Council unanimously approved the package, even agreeing to an additional $2 million in a bid to knock Visalia out of the running.
Nordstrom has said the project could bring 200 to 450 seasonal hires to the region, in addition to the aforementioned full-time positions, as well as construction jobs required to get the site ready. There’s also the potential for a second distribution center that would supply the retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores, which could create a further 875 jobs.
But Visalia, which was approached with a similar sales-tax sharing deal, is still in contention. Both locations are close to highways, as well as UPS and FedEx, but land is cheaper in Visalia, which is why Fresno tacked on that extra $2 million.
Nordstrom has projected retail sales of $100 million in the first year at the winning site.