Nike seeks tax break for Memphis expansion

By Andy Meek

Nike has a plan on the drawing board to expand its presence in Memphis in a big way, spending millions to grow its local operation – and add 250 new jobs.

The world’s largest seller of athletic footwear and athletic appear is seeking a 15-year tax freeze to help the company expand its facility at 3100 New Frayser Blvd. and upgrade its facility at 5151 Shelby Drive.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based company turned down expansion opportunities in North Mississippi and even in its corporate home of Beaverton in favor of Memphis. The moves include Nike ending its lease at 8400 Winchester and shifting employees to the Shelby Drive location.

In the process, Nike will create 250 new jobs with an average wage of $35,000, increasing Nike’s local employment to 1,912.

The project will create more than $105 million in new tax revenue for Memphis and Shelby County and will result in an average annual tax abatement of almost $58 million for Nike.

The city-county Economic Development Growth Engine board will discuss Nike’s application at the board’s Oct. 17 meeting.