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A 2.9 million square foot, 400-acre Walmart import and distribution center is one step closer to coming to the Alabama Gulf Coast after the Mobile City Council and Mobile County Commission voted Tuesday to approve millions in tax incentives and abatements for the project.

The $135 million project, which would be located near the intersection of Interstate 10 and McDonald Road, would create some 550 jobs with an average annual salary around $36,000. Walmart currently operates similar import distribution centers in Mira Loma, Calif.; Statesboro, Ga.; Elwood, Ill.; Baytown, Texas; and Williamsburg, Va.

The project could also mean big business for the Port of Mobile, with as many as 600 truckloads of goods being moved between the port and the distribution center each day, officials said.

“This project represents a tremendous step in establishing Mobile as a global hub for logistics and distribution,” said Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson in a statement. “I want to thank our partners at the State of Alabama, Mobile County, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama State Port Authority for working together to target a development of this magnitude. Team Mobile is committed to creating jobs for our citizens.”

The total value of the incentives being offered by city, county, and state officials is nearly $20 million, with $4.6 million in direct incentives, the cost of which the city and county will split. The largest chunk of the incentive package comes in the form of sales and property tax abatements offered by Mobile County, the value of which tops $11 million over 20 years. State incentives chuck in another $3.8 million.

Despite Tuesday’s vote, company officials have not yet committed to locate the center in Mobile. Walmart representatives said this week that it could be October before a final decision is made.

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