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Cortana Mall torn down as city clears way for new Amazon facility

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BATON ROUGE - The buildings that formerly made up the Cortana Mall began coming down Monday as workers clear space for a new Amazon distribution center. 

Crews were seen demolishing the abandoned mall late Monday morning. Workers moved in little less than two weeks after the East Baton Rouge Metro Council approved the rezoning of the property, giving Amazon's contractor the go-ahead.

“Customer's patterns and shopping habits are changing, and we have to evolve with the times,” said Councilman Cleve Dunn Jr.

The former Cortana Mall sits in Dunn’s district.

“It’s a huge grab for us to attract a project such as this, but I'm almost more excited for the people, the opportunities it's going to attract,” said Dunn.

Recently obtained documents revealed Amazon is paying at least $17 million for the property, which it plans to transform into a 3 million-square-foot, five-level fulfillment center. The warehouse could create up to 1,000 jobs.

“We want to make sure the whole process is inclusive and diverse. From the construction process, to local small businesses participating and all the way to employment opportunities. I want to make sure that those who get these jobs are from Baton Rouge."

The Dillard's clearance store, the last remaining anchor tenant on the Cortana property, will officially close next month.

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