- E-commerce giant Amazon, along with city, county and state officials, presided over a ceremonial groundbreaking this week for its new $325 million fulfillment center in Birmingham-area Bessemer, Alabama.
- Construction on the 855,000-square-foot warehouse facility is already underway and is expected to wrap up before the 2019 holiday rush. Gray Construction, based in Lexington, Kentucky, is the general contractor designing and building the fulfillment center. Atlanta-based Seefried Industrial Properties, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, will oversee the construction and development of the facility, and Amazon will occupy the property as a tenant. Seefried has reportedly been involved in the development of several Amazon fulfillment centers.
- The project represents the largest single investment in Bessemer history and is expected to add $203 million to Jefferson County's economic activity and $123 million to county gross domestic product. Amazon will receive approximately $50 million of incentives, including a 10-year, $15.5 million job credit; a $26.25 million investment credit, also across 10 years; state workforce development assistance valued at almost $7 million and various city and county benefits.
As Amazon's distribution and shipping efforts move closer to the end customer, its construction program has grown, creating projects for contractors and their employees, as well as long-term work for local residents.
Also expected to open in time for the 2019 holiday season is a fulfillment center in Salem, Oregon, the Salem Statesman Journal reported this week. The facility's shell is complete, but crews still must complete interior work and install equipment. The company recently opened a 900,000-square-foot-fulfillment center in Edison, New Jersey. The Edison facility marks the eighth Amazon fulfillment center operating in New Jersey, where the company has 16,000 employees. This makes Amazon one of the biggest employers in the state.
But the biggest news is yet to come. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is slated to announce the location of the company's new second North American headquarters, dubbed HQ2, by the end of the year. The project, estimated at $5 billion, will reportedly create as many as 50,000 jobs for whichever of the 20 finalist cities wins the bid.
In the hopes of gaining an advantage, the cities and regions that made the short list have thrown money at Amazon in the form of tax relief and other benefits intended to sway the company their way. Maryland's $8.5 billion package is the largest reported thus far and includes a $6.5 billion benefits deal plus $2 billion in proposed infrastructure improvements.