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Amazon to locate $325M distribution center near Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A $325 million Amazon facility being built near Birmingham will initially employ 1,500 people fulfilling orders, and the workforce could swell even more, the online retailer and local officials said Friday.

A statement by the Seattle-based company said the 855,000-square foot facility would be located in Bessemer just west of Alabama’s largest city. Workers will pack and ship small items to customers including books, household items and toys, the company said.

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens told news outlets the operation could eventually employ as many as 3,000 people. Employees will receive full benefits and an average hourly wage of $14.65.

“By choosing to locate its Amazon Fulfillment Center here, Amazon is making the largest single private investment in the city of Bessemer’s 131-year history,” Mayor Kenneth Gulley said in a statement. “Amazon is bringing jobs and opportunity to our residents and students.”

Birmingham is one of the last U.S. cities its size without an Amazon facility to fulfill orders. The region previously submitted a proposal for Amazon’s new headquarters but wasn’t selected.

The Amazon project, which will include advance robotics that are used to handle packages, matches the state’s strategy to lure tech jobs, said Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.

“We’ve made recruiting technology-focused jobs a priority, and Amazon’s presence in the state will help us advance toward our goal,” he said.

Amazon already has a sorting and shipping center on the Gulf Coast at Mobile. That facility, valued at $30 million, has more part-time and seasonal workers than the operation being built in Bessemer.

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