Metro-east officials and business leaders joined Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a $23.5 million FedEx distribution center in Sauget.
The center is expected to create 25 full-time and 150 part-time jobs and be fully operational by September 2014, according to FedEx Ground Regional Vice President Scott Burns.
"The best way to help people is with a j-o-b," Quinn said, spelling out "job" to the crowd. "The best way to fight poverty is with jobs. The best way to fight crime is with jobs."
St. Clair County has a 9.6 percent unemployment rate, according to the latest report available from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. In comparison, the national unemployment rate is 7.6 percent and statewide the rate is 9.4 percent.
FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of the FedEx Corp., is building a 181,000-square-foot distribution center on more than 45 acres of current farm ground. The site is north of the intersection of Sauget Industrial Parkway and Sauget Business Boulevard within the 700-acre Sauget Business Park.
The facility will process 10,000 packages an hour that will be transported through the nearby artery of interstates and St. Louis Downtown Parks Airport. Burns said the easy access to major highways and customer distribution centers helped sway the company to build in Sauget.
"We will be bringing trucks in and out of the facility 24 hours a day," Burns said. "That was definitely a consideration."
FedEx is eligible for $459,000 in state tax credits based on job creation during the next 10 years. The company is also eligible for grants to help train its workforce.
"We are working with FedEx in this development because it means jobs for the residents in our state," Quinn said.
Burns said the Sauget facility was one of 500 such expansions FedEx Ground is undertaking in the next five years.
"In the last five years FedEx Ground is growing faster than our competitors because of our customer service and faster delivery," Burns said. "We pick communities we believe will be great business partnerships, and St. Clair County is one of them. We are growing quickly domestically and globally."
Burns said the company has seen an overall 25 percent growth in online business and 5 percent growth in other services. The St. Louis market has seen an even larger growth in business, he added.
FedEx is a Fortune 100 corporation and has two other sites in the St. Louis area. The Sauget facility will be developed by Sauget FXG, a subsidiary of the Kansas City-based Jones Development Company, and leased to FedEx Ground.
Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2501.