(Source: Arizona Daily Star): Gabriela Rico – Amazon has chosen Tucson for a new fulfillment center with plans to hire more than 1,500 full-time employees.
The warehouse will handle customer returns, light assembly, 3-D printing and direct product pickup by customers from automated kiosks on the city’s southeast side.
“Throughout most of the year, the project is projected to have a maximum of approximately 1,500 employees working on-site at one time. During the peak shopping season (i.e., November through December) the project will have a maximum of 1,900 employees working on-site at one time,” project filings with the city of Tucson show.
Upon receipt of a certificate of occupancy, more than 94 acres will be annexed into the city of Tucson.
“Amazon’s first act was to ask to be annexed into the city,” said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “I am glad to see Amazon wanted to become the city’s newest major business.”
The industrial building will be the second-largest in the Tucson area. The largest, Target’s fulfillment center also on the city’s southeast side, is 975,000 square feet.
“We’re excited to open a new state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Tucson and to continue innovating in a state committed to providing great opportunities for jobs and customer experience,” said Mark Stewart, vice president of Amazon’s North America operations.
Amazon has four existing fulfillment centers in Arizona with more than 7,000 employees.
“This announcement of 1,500 new jobs with Amazon, one of the world’s largest brand names, is huge for Southern Arizona,” said David G. Hutchens, chairman of Sun Corridor Inc., and president and CEO of UNS Energy Corp., Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services. “The ripple effect of a project of this magnitude will benefit the region for many years down the road.”
In filings with the city, Amazon’s warehouse will receive, store and ship products, including automotive, appliances, electronics and software, grocery and alcohol, office supplies, toys and video games.
About 80 acres will be developed with the remaining 15 acres of land reserved for future expansion.
The warehouse will be a one-story structure, about 60 feet high, with 64 loading docks, 398 tractor-trailer parking spaces and about 2,500 vehicle parking spaces.
Pima County spokesman Mark Evans said the county was able to do a design and plan review in one week for Amazon.
“We’re thrilled to see them choose the Port of Tucson, which is connected to the Sonoran Corridor that we’ve diligently been working to develop for the past five years,” Evans said.
The project is being developed by Seefried Industrial Properties.
CREATING LOGISTICS HUB
The Amazon announcement solidifies Tucson as a major logistics hub, officials said, noting that the company has not asked for incentives and penned the deal based on the demographics and geography.
“The strength of this deal is that we’re a perfect logistics center,” Rothschild said. “And, it’s a signal to every other distributor that this is the place to be.”
Joining Home Goods and the Target fulfillment center, Amazon’s presence will be noted by other logistics companies.
Barbi Reuter, president of Picor Commercial Real Estate and vice chair of the Tucson Metro Chamber, agreed, saying this announcement will be noted by other companies that brokers work to bring to the Tucson area.
“It’s very significant and validates the assets that we have in our community,” she said. “The whole last-mile delivery is an explosive growth industry and this is the kind of announcement that will get the attention of other logistics companies.”
The top priority when Amazon looks to open a fulfillment center is workforce, said Lauren Lynch, a company spokeswoman.
“We found abundant talent in Tucson,” she said.
Jobs will include technical positions, engineers, industrial truck drivers and order pickers and packers.
Salaries will be determined after a market study to ensure Amazon is competitive, Lynch said, adding that the company usually pays 30 percent more than traditional retail jobs in an area.
Benefits start the first day on the job and include medical, dental, vision, 401(k) and 20 weeks of paid parental leave.
Lynch said a few months before the building opens in 2019, salaries will be announced and hiring will begin.
The Tucson warehouse will fulfill customer orders around Southern Arizona and into neighboring states, she said.
“We look at how much we are fulfilling in the area and build capacity,” Lynch said. “We’re so glad to be coming to Tucson.
“Arizona is a very important state for us.”