Dirt turning at proposed Amazon site in Carencro

An Amazon fulfillment center is planned for a large portion of the old Evangeline Downs, multiple sources tell The Current. Photo by Stacy Conrad

The gist: The deal to bring an Amazon fulfillment center to the old Evangeline Downs in Carencro appears to be inching closer to fruition. 

Breaking ground. At least tens of thousands of dollars of earth work and soil stabilization is underway, evidenced by photographs taken this week at the NE Evangeline Thruway site. Earlier this month, The Current reported on the mega deal, an estimated 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center likely to create as many as 1,000 jobs.

The deal is expected to be formally announced by the end of the year. Citing a nondisclosure agreement, the NE Evangeline Thruway property owner, local real estate investor Carrol Castille, declined to discuss any specifics of the potential property sale when first contacted by The Current. “I’m under a confidentiality agreement with a large land purchaser,” Castille said. “I have not seen one document with Amazon’s name on it.” The Advocate later reported that a 120-acre tract on NE Evangeline Thruway near the FedEx Ground distribution center is listed as “pending” on the state’s commercial database website. The purchase price is $13.08 million.

Major earth work and soil stabilization was well underway this week at the 120-acre tract on NE Evangeline Thruway. Photo by Stacy Conrad

Plans for an Amazon fulfillment center in Baton Rouge fell apart earlier this year. The widely reported deal for space at the old Cortana Mall site tanked this year after the developer failed to assemble the needed properties. One property owner told The Advocate he was about 30 days from completing a sale when the buyer pulled back.

Fulfillment centers bring massive job numbers and often hazardous work. Confirmed reports of recent Amazon fulfillment center placements in Clay, N.Y., Beaumont, Calif., and Pflugerville, Texas, boast 1,000 jobs on the deals. Work at fulfillment centers has been said to be grueling. An investigative report found an “injury crisis” within the tech giant’s 250,000-strong warehouse workforce. In 2019 alone, Amazon recorded 14,000 workplace injuries, according to documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting, with the highest rates at sites that heavily rely on robots.