[IMGCAP(1)]HAZLETON, PA-Amazon.com has chosen the Humboldt Industrial Park here as the site of its newest distribution center. According to the governor’s office, the company plans to invest more than $20 million in the property and received almost $2 million in state grants.

The 600,000-sf distribution center, which is scheduled to open in July 2008, is expected to create 1,100 jobs over the next three years. In addition, more than 800 seasonal employees will work at the center. This is the fifth facility Amazon will operate in the state. The others are in Carlisle, Lewisberry, Chambersburg and Allentown.

[IMGCAP(2)]Pennsylvania provided Amazon with two grants to encourage the company to move into Hazleton. Amazon received $500,000 to put toward job training programs and a nearly $1.3 million opportunity grant, which can be used to purchase machinery, make improvements to the land or buildings and provide additional job training programs. A spokesperson with the state Department of Community and Economic Development cited the large number of jobs the company would bring to the area as a reason why Amazon received assistance from the state.

“Not only will this project result in more than a thousand new jobs for Pennsylvanians, but those jobs, along with the large amount of private investment, will provide ancillary benefits for the entire region,” says Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell in an official release. “This is the type of project that could have happened anywhere in the US and Amazon’s renewed commitment to Pennsylvania attests to our strong pro-business climate.”

The state previously worked with Amazon in 2005. Amazon received $400,000 to open two warehouses in Carlisle, Cumberland County and Lewisberry in York County.

“We’ve had a good working relationship with the government in Pennsylvania and the facilities we currently have have worked out well for us,” a spokesperson for Amazon tells GlobeSt.com. “We look at a number of factors when we relocate in a given area, one being the availability of talent so we can hire and staff the site appropriately, the proximity to customers and the availability of real estate and whether that’s going to suit our needs. Hazleton had all those things going for it.”

With its new property, Amazon will receive an additional boost from the state for choosing a building in a designated Keystone Opportunity Zone. KOZ businesses can receive exemptions, deductions, abatements and credits for many state and local taxes, including corporate net income taxes, personal income tax and sales tax.

Humboldt Industrial Park is a 3,000-acre project on a former brownfield site. Developer Greater Hazleton Community Area New Development Organization received nearly $4.3 million from DCED’s Business on Our Sites program and more than $3 million in loans from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority to prepare and develop infrastructure at the site. The tenant roster includes OfficeMax, the Hershey Co. and Quebecor World. Calls to Amazon seeking additional information and comment were not returned as of press time.