The recent granting of Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) status to 340 acres of prime industrial land in West Memphis, Ark., paves the way for a significant warehouse and distribution project planned by Industrial Developments International (IDI).
Altanta-based IDI, a full-service industrial real estate developer, plans to build up to eight buildings totaling 5.2 million square feet of space as part of what could be a 10-year project. The land, known as Interstate Commerce Center, is less than a mile from both Interstate 40 and Interstate 55 and sits between the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad lines.
The land’s new status is something Ward Wimbish, the city’s economic development director, has been working toward steadily since he took the position in 2006.
“We want the world to know we have a Foreign Trade Zone, rail service bringing in imports from the West Coast, low-priced and available property and low taxes,” Wimbish said.
IDI is offering flexible build-to-suit and inventory space options in buildings ranging in size from 311,000 square feet to 1.2 million square feet. The park already has one pad-ready site of 453,600 square feet, which can be expanded to accommodate a facility of up to 900,000 square feet. The site provides excellent access to Interstate 40 (.3 miles) and Interstate 55 (.8 miles), and the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal (9 miles).
“IDI is excited about this Foreign Trade Zone designation,” said Kurt Nelson, senior vice president and regional development officer. “Not only will IDI provide tenants the Class-A space that we’re known for in the industry, we will also be able to offer them FTZ benefits that reduce the cost of doing business.”
Nelson noted that the West Memphis location will translate into lower occupancy costs for tenants. In addition, West Memphis tax rates and utility rates are significantly lower than nearby Desoto and Shelby counties.
FTZs save companies money because they don’t pay duties for products or components shipped into the zone. Businesses can assemble the components in the duty-free zones then ship them out.
Merchandise, both foreign and domestic, admitted into a FTZ is perceived as being in the stream of international commerce and is therefore not subject to customs duties, government excise taxes or import quotas. Only when the final product is transferred from an FTZ and formally entered into U.S. commerce do duties and taxes become due. And, if the final product is exported from the U.S., no duties or taxes are levied.