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Lakeland Linder International Airport in line for massive Amazon cargo operation

The project would be the e-commerce giant’s largest facility in the Southeast.

Lakeland City Commissioners will consider signing a nearly $1 million-per-year lease with Amazon for air cargo operations.

The agreement, at stake during the Commission’s Monday meeting, would allow Amazon to lease nearly 50 acres from the city for its operations at Lakeland Linder International Airport. Talks for the proposed expansion began in 2017 and the project would create up to 1,000 jobs, according to a City of Lakeland tweet.

Amazon could later expand its facility onto another 62-acres.

Amazon is also planning a 223,000 square-foot facility with two smaller adjacent buildings as part of its air cargo operations.

If approved, the project would be the e-commerce giant’s largest facility in the Southeast.

“This is a game changer for the airport,” said Lakeland Linder International Airport Director Gene Conrad.

The proposed lease would span up to 50-years. The initial term is for 20 years with three 10-year extensions available if Amazon invests $25 million into the site. If approved, Amazon planes could begin operating at the airport next summer.

The city of Lakeland is proposing economic incentives for Amazon under the project proposal up to $225,000 contingent on creating jobs paying at least $47,000.

The airport would have to add an additional five fuel tanks to accommodate Amazon planes. They’d also be required to make some runway improvements.

Construction could start as early as July.

The location is opportune. Amazon already has a fulfillment center in Lakeland and another in Ruskin.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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