Patterson looking forward to working with Amazon

local@modbee.comMay 3, 2012 

PG Project X

PATTY GUERRA/pguerra@modbee.com Strawberries are growing at the site where a massive warehouse is planned in Patterson. Project X is set for Baldwin Road and Sperry Avenue. The site is pictured on April 26, 2012.

PATTY GUERRA — Modesto Bee

Your order for new jobs in the Central Valley has been fulfilled.

Amazon officially is coming to Patterson.

San Antonio-based USAA Real Estate Company announced Thursday that it will develop a 1 million-square-foot "fulfillment center" for the Seattle-based online shopping giant.

The Amazon fulfillment center, formerly known as Project X, will take occupancy of the facility within the West Ridge Business Park in western Stanislaus County by the second quarter of 2013.

Dave Clark, Amazon's vice president of global customer fulfillment, said the project was a collaboration on the state and local levels.

"We appreciate USAA Real Estate Company's hard work, the support from Governor Brown and state and local officials, and we look forward to creating hundreds of full-time jobs with benefits in Patterson when the facility begins shipping to customers in 2013," Clark said.

Project X long has been suspected to be a code name for Amazon, which has pledged to bring jobs to California. In January, Patterson officials held a public meeting on a proposed million-square-foot building on 120 acres. The original timeline called for construction to begin right away, with completion and occupancy by September.

Neither USAA Real Estate or Amazon were specific on the number of employees it potentially could need. Patterson City Manager Rod Butler said he expects it to bring at least 1,000 full-time, year-round jobs to the area.

Project backers have previously promised 1,500 jobs, with a seasonal addition of about 1,000.

Butler said construction should begin within the next 30 days and last nine months to a year. Late last month, escrow closed on at least 60 acres of the property where the massive warehouse is planned at Baldwin Road and Sperry Avenue.

USAA Real Estate Co. will serve as the landlord for the facility and lease the space to Golden State FC LLC once the building is complete. Golden State FC LLC will operate the fulfillment center for Amazon.

The company also built an Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tenn., last year.

"We're pleased to be making this investment in Patterson and look forward to Amazon moving in when the facility is completed in the second quarter of 2013," said Pat Duncan, USAA Real Estate Co. chairman and CEO. "We appreciate the support of local and state leaders throughout this project, and USAA is excited about being a part of the community."

World's biggest Internet retailer

Amazon is a Fortune 500 company and the world's largest Internet retailer. It posted $48.08 billion in net sales for 2011.

Patterson Mayor Luis Molina said he was looking forward to working with Amazon to create jobs for the city, county and region.

"We support them however we can in making the transition to the dirt people see out there now to a viable company that will be an integral part of lowering unemployment in this area," he said. "Whether they come in December, January, anytime in 2013, jobs are welcome."

Stanislaus County continues to struggle with high unemployment, which has stymied recovery in the area. The jobless rate hit 17.4 percent in March, with more than 41,200 unemployed workers in the county.

Butler said Amazon has not given a date for hiring to begin. But he said Grainger, which opened a large distribution center in Patterson last summer, began hiring six months before it opened.

Patterson has positioned itself as a hub for logistics and distribution in Northern California in the last few years. Besides Amazon and Grainger, it also has centers for national retailers Kohl's and CVS.

"We think that it's really a good sign of good things to come for the future of Patterson's economy," Butler said. "Having a company of Amazon's profile will lead to additional opportunities. That's why we're so excited."

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284.


AMAZON AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Internet retailer, selling new and used items in a variety of categories: books; movies, music and games; digital downloads; electronics and computers; home garden, pets; toys, kids and baby; grocery; apparel; shoes and jewelry; health and beauty; sports and outdoor; and tools, auto and industrial.

FOUNDED: 1995

EMPLOYEES: 56,200

2011 SALES: $48 billion

HEADQUARTERS: Seattle

OTHER FULFILLMENT CENTERS: Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia

Source: Amazon.com and LexisNexis

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