September 2019


On Wednesday, the Shelby County Board of Adjustment will discuss whether to allow a five-story warehouse to be built on 99 acres of vacant land in the Raleigh neighborhood just north of the Nike distribution facility.

If it is built, the warehouse could be a boon for job creation for Raleigh and its neighbor Frayser. While officials with Amazon have not confirmed that the warehouse would be occupied by the retail giant, there are similarities between this project and past Amazon projects that suggest the company could be expanding its Memphis footprint.

Here are five things to know about the project before the Board of Adjustment meets.

It would be huge

The project is going before the Board of Adjustment because of its size.

At five stories, the building would be taller than currently allowed in that spot just west of New Allen Road and south of Hawkins Mill Road in Raleigh, near Frayser’s border.

Not only do developers hope to build higher than allowed, they also plan to build further out. Its parking lot, driveway and a guard stand would all be on land that is currently zoned as residential.

It could create jobs

Based on the size of the facility, the warehouse could mean jobs for more than 1,000 people, County Commissioner Willie Brooks said last month.

According construction plans submitted to the Board of Adjustment, 1,828 car and 200 truck spaces plus an area that could be used to add future parking are included in the project, indicating the possibility of even more hiring than Brooks estimated.

Nothing is guaranteed

Brooks said last month that he was told that the company proposing the warehouse was also considering other cities for the project.

Wednesday’s meeting is just a first step. If the project is approved, it moves to reality but could still fall through.

Maybe it’s Amazon, maybe not

When the project comes before the Board of Adjustment, it will be referred to by its code name: Project Iris.

Amazon has not returned calls for comment to confirm or deny their involvement in the project. Despite its silence, speculation that Amazon might be planning another Memphis warehouse hasn’t ebbed. That’s because of some similarities between this project and past projects that started in secret and were later revealed to be Amazon warehouses.


Take a look inside Amazon’s PHX6 Fulfillment Center, where myriad packages and gifts will be processed this holiday season. Arizona Republic

In this case, the use of a code name and coded language on project plans that read “AR SORT FC” point to Amazon. AR SORT FC is believed to be shorthand for Amazon Robotics Sortable Fulfillment Center. The development company behind the warehouse, Seefried Industrial Properties, has also built several Amazon facilities.

Still, without direct confirmation from Amazon, there is a possibility that the warehouse could be planned for another company happy to work quietly in Amazon’s shadow of or in opposition to the project.