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Map showing proposed layout of new Amazon cargo operation at Lakeland Linder International Airport.
Lakeland City Commission

Amazon is planning to bring one of its biggest U.S. facilities in the Southeast to the Tampa Bay area.

The online retail giant plans to build a $17 million center on the northwest side of Lakeland Linder International Airport.

The year 2018 is almost over, and Florida Matters is looking back at the stories that made headlines in our region this year.


Alan Rosco / Google

Orlando police officials say they will extend a pilot program for a facial recognition tool developed by a subsidiary of Amazon.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

Amazon will pay all of its U.S. employees a minimum of $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The retail giant, run by the world's richest man, was criticized earlier this year after revealing its workers' median pay was $28,446.

Amazon says the new rate will go into effect on Nov. 1, covering all of its full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees in the U.S.

On a cold December night last year, a meeting was called in the lobby of my apartment building. Concerned residents gathered to discuss a matter of great import: what to do about the swarms of packages jamming the lobby closet and overflowing into the entryway.

Unclaimed boxes were an eyesore and a nuisance. Finding the right package was starting to require gymnastic ability. And the boxes kept coming, by the dozens, maybe hundreds. Most of them were from Amazon: brown, with a smile on the side.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Going into Tuesday's arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, it looked as though the court was headed toward reversing a 50-year-old decision that barred states from collecting taxes on out-of-state purchases.

But after the arguments, it looked as though a court majority just might preserve the status quo, and that would be a huge victory for online sellers.

The case presents a multibillion-dollar dispute, and the outcome will directly affect consumers, cash-strapped states and companies large and small.

Madison Marquette / Flickr

Shopping as we know it is changing fast. Big box stores are vanishing; Amazon is going bricks and mortar. What does it all mean for the health of our local economy?


Andy Lalino / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters we visit the office of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to talk about his second term in office, which began about a month ago.


Miami's promising bid for the second Amazon headquarters results in part from regional collaboration on resilience issues including sea level rise, said an official familiar with the plan's development.

Miami A Finalist For Amazon HQ; Tampa, St. Pete Miss Cut

Jan 18, 2018
Amazon.com

Amazon named Miami one of 20 finalists on Thursday to house the tech giant’s second headquarters, HQ2, according to an announcement made by City of Miami Major Francis Suárez. Tampa and St. Petersburg did not make the cut.

Amazon.com

Amazon, the nation’s most valuable retailer, recently announced its search for a location to set up their second national headquarters, or HQ2. Dozens of major metropolitan areas are competing to score this Holy Grail of deals, including Tampa Bay.

Tampa International Airport's cargo business is growing, thanks in large part to the online retailer Amazon.

Making Sense of The Washington Post Comeback

Oct 12, 2014
npr.org

Reports of The Washington Post's death are apparently greatly exaggerated.         

Since the purchase of the venerable newspaper by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos last summer, The Washington Post has seen print sales stabilize and website page views increase by 63 per cent.

Making Sense of Twitch.TV

Sep 3, 2014
npr.org

Why did Amazon just pay a billion dollars cash for a website most people have never heard of -- twitch.tv?

And, for that matter, what they heck is twitch.tv?

Well, 45 million people click to that site every month to watch other people play video games.

Welcome to the world of esports.

Internet Retailer Amazon to Start Collecting Sales Taxes

Apr 17, 2014

Floridians who rely on Internet giant Amazon.com will have to soon start paying taxes on their online purchases.

A spokesman for the Seattle-based company confirmed Wednesday that Amazon will collect the state's 6 percent sales tax on May 1.

The move follows the decision by Amazon to build two distribution centers in the Sunshine State.

Amazon will open "fulfillment centers" in Lakeland and Ruskin. Each will be more than 1 million square feet. Amazon officials say when both are open, more than 1,000 full-time jobs will be created.

Amazon.com, Inc. today confirmed plans to open another fulfillment center in Lakeland. It will be in addition to another center that Amazon earlier announced it will open in Ruskin. Each center will be more than than 1 million square feet. Amazon officials say when both are open, more than 1,000 full-time jobs will be created.

In his new book The Everything Store, Brad Stone chronicles how Amazon became an "innovative, disruptive, and often polarizing technology powerhouse." He writes that Amazon was among the first to realize the potential of the Internet and that the company "ended up forever changing the way we shop and read."

A.P.

It's not often that the news media is shocked by a story about its own business.

Journalists talk shop - a lot.

There is no shortage of speculation about the future of this TV chain or that newspaper.

But nobody saw the sale of the "Washington Post" to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos coming.

Hillsborough County Approves Amazon Incentive

Jun 19, 2013

The huge Internet retailer Amazon is one step closer to building a fulfillment center in Ruskin. Hillsborough County Commissioners approved Wednesday a set of tax incentives to bring the company here.

Amazon is promising 1,000 jobs for Hillsborough County, with 375 of those being higher wage positions making an average of more than $47,000.

Hillsborough County Commissioners decided the new jobs will be worth the incentive of $225,000. 

Governor Scott Changes His Mind on Amazon Deal

Jun 14, 2013
Bill McCollum / WUSF News

After initially rejecting a proposal from Amazon, Gov. Rick Scott just announced he reached a deal with the company.  It could bring almost 3,000 jobs to the state.  

Ideologically speaking, Republicans aren't fans of taxes.  That is what forced Rick Scott to think long and hard about the state's deal with Amazon. Along with jobs, the deal also meant the company would begin collecting sales taxes from Florida residents who buy from Amazon. 

Reversing his earlier decision, Governor Scott has reached an agreement with Amazon. While the arrangement will see the Internet shopping titan create 3,000 new jobs, it also includes a 6 percent state sales tax on Amazon purchases for Florida residents.