City of Fresno officials are calling it the crown jewel of a growing industrial park in south central Fresno. E-commerce giant Amazon officially began work on a new internet fulfillment center Monday to the delight of elected officials and business leaders who gathered at the site.
With a few short words, Amazon’s West Coast Operations Director Kelvin Downs opened the ground breaking ceremony of an 855,000 square foot internet fulfillment center.
“It’s official. Amazon is coming to Fresno,” Downs says.
The deal has been heavily pushed by city leaders who think it signals a shift in the employment market and will attract other companies to the industrial park known as North Pointe. They also believe that having a company like Amazon express interest in Fresno will catch the eye of other retailers.
Downs touted the number of jobs Amazon plans to create.
“So we are very proud of our ability to create more than 1,500 full-time jobs that will receive competitive wages (and) comprehensive benefits starting on day one,” Downs says.
Downs says the center will ship small items like toys and books, mostly to customers on the west coast. This facility will also be a ‘robotics’ plant, meaning workers will be trailed by robotic assistants.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand welcomed the company with open arms.
“Thank you. Thank you for choosing Fresno. Thank you for believing in Fresno. This is the game changer for the city of Fresno. This starts to change the narrative of Fresno. That Fresno is successful. Bringing 1,500 jobs is an amazing feat,” Brand says.
Amazon has a number of distribution centers closer to San Francisco and Los Angeles but this is the first in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Company officials say they intend to serve the west coast market but that their main concern is serving their Amazon Prime members as quickly as possible regardless of location.
The city did approve a $30 million dollar incentive package to attract the company, but Amazon’s Downs says that was not a deciding factor.
Construction is likely to last well into next year with job openings being posted about a month before the plant opens.
This is the second significant fulfillment center announced this year at the North Pointe site. Ulta Beauty is also constructing a distribution and fulfillment center near the Amazon location.
In addition to the groundbreaking, Amazon announced a $20,000 dollar gift to the Fresno County Public Library. $10,000 from Amazon and another $10,000 from Dermody Properties.