Local I-Team: Mystery “Project Iris” expected to bring 1,000 jobs to Memphis

Local I-Team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A new project is expected to bring as many as 1,000 jobs to the Memphis area. The problem is no one is saying what exactly the jobs are. 

Economists and lawmakers are weighing in on a massive warehouse planned for the Raleigh area called “Project Iris.”

There is speculation it could be a new Amazon facility. Amazon is not confirming anything, but one state lawmaker says he has talked to representatives for the mystery company.

An empty field is where the yet to be disclosed facility would be built. It would be built on more than 90 acres at the corner of New Allen Road and Hawkins Mill in Raleigh. According to the application, it would be a state-of-the-art distribution and warehouse facility that will ship goods around the Mid-South region.

State Representative Antonio Parkinson said he has been in communication with a company representative.

“The company that is coming in, they are not going to be using temporary agencies for their hiring. They are going to be hiring people, from what I understand, their wages are going to be decent wages to make a living on,” said Parkinson.

Amazon already has a distribution center off Holmes Road, and last December announced opening a facility in Byhalia, Mississippi. No one from the EDGE board, Memphis and Shelby Counties Economic Development board, would confirm anything about the project. A spokesperson said at this point, no one can say anything because they are under a non-disclosure agreement.

“The people of that area will benefit. They will benefit from the economic activity and they will benefit from the employment and income opportunities. So that’s what makes this so important,” said economist John Gnuschke.

Gnuschke, with the University of Memphis, said while there may be speculation that it’s Amazon, he added, “Whatever company it is, if it generates hundreds of jobs in an area of the city that desperately needs help, then it’s a good thing.”

The proposed mystery warehouse, only known as “Project Iris” would be located in Raleigh, just north of the Nike distribution center which opened several years ago.

“Back when Nike was first planned and brought into fruition, there was a promise there were going to be other companies that were going to be surrounding the Nike complex in North Ridge, and it’s good to see some of these things are coming into play,” said Parkinson.

To make this happen, zoning needs to be changed. The zoning issue goes before the board of adjustment later this month.

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