• Marion County works to bring Fed-Ex to Ocala


    OCALA, Fla. - Marion County and the city of Ocala cut a deal Tuesday to bring a huge Fed-Ex hub to the region.

    Officials said the company plans to invest more than $120 million and create hundreds of jobs.

    But Channel 9’s Berndt Petersen learned the local governments had to offer Fed-Ex incentives, millions of dollars worth, to lure them to the county. However, if everything falls into place, millions of Fed-Ex packages could soon be trucked in and out of Commerce Park.

    "By signing this, we can give hope to our community that we’re on our way back,” said Carl Zalak of the Marion County Commission.

    The package delivery giant is eyeing 150-acres along Interstate 75 for a distribution hub to include a 400,000-square-foot facility.

    “For a transportation company, being located near a major highway definitely presents opportunities for us,” said Bill Connor of Fed-Ex.

    But that will only happen if the county and the city of Ocala come through with nearly $3.5 million in incentives. 

    “Putting in roads, putting in water and sewer, moving gas lines,” said Kevin Sheilley of the Marion County Economic Partnership. “(They’re) all things that would probably have to be done anyway."

    Local leaders insist it’s not corporate welfare but an investment that will pay off with 165 jobs to start and possibly hundreds more to follow with salaries around $32,000 per year.

    The county commission approved the incentives Tuesday morning.  Now it’s up to the state to kick in some grant money, Petersen said.

    Fed-Ex said it could break ground in a year.

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    Marion County works to bring Fed-Ex to Ocala