Amazon’s European hub spurned in Czech Republic

19 February 2014

Amazon’s plans to build a distribution hub outside the Czech Republic’s second city has been thwarted by its elected assembly.

The American e-commerce giant had proposed to build the fulfilment centre to serve the whole of central and eastern Europe close the D1 motorway.

It had been in negotiations with the Czech government over building a spur from the D1 to the proposed site of the warehouse, and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he would "personally focus on the crucial direct investments the Czech Republic has a chance to host".

The Brno City Assembly voted on 14 February against granting permission for Amazon’s $136m project, and also voted not to agree a contract between the city and the Roads and Motorways Directorate.

The decision embarrassed Sobotka, and moved Milos Zeman, the president of the Czech Republic, to denounce the decision as "stupid".

Brno, the Czech Republic’s second city, which will probably not be hosting an Amazon warehouse (Wikimedia Commons)

Zeman said that the Moravian city had thrown away 2,000 new jobs the month after the unemployment rate in the republic reached a record level of 8.6%.

Jan Mladek, the minister for trade and industry, told journalists he would try to offer Amazon another locality in the country.

Amazon is building another distribution centre at Dobroviz, outside Prague. Representatives from the town of Dobroviz voted on 13 February to allow Amazon to go ahead with its warehouse in the west of the country.

The building project was to have been handled by CTP Invest, one of the Czech Republic’s largest developers. Tomas Budar, the firm’s regional director, said CTP would try to keep Amazon in Brno. "We have bought a large part of the plots and we have a virtually finished project documentation," he said.

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