PATTERSON — The foundation is in, walls are going up and the Amazon distribution center is starting to put people to work.
"It's pretty exciting," Mayor Luis Molina said.
City Manager Rod Butler agrees. "It has really become a beehive of activity," he said. "We haven't had many weather delays over the past few weeks, which should help things stay on schedule for an August or September opening date."
Amazon has posted a few jobs from its Patterson center, as well as a facility recently announced in Tracy. But the big impact has been on those building the 1 million-square-foot building.
Collins Electrical Co., the subcontractor hired to put in the electrical system, has been out in Patterson seeking applicants for jobs and also for the company's apprenticeship program, Molina said.
"Most of the people getting hired are local, though you see some Nevada (license) plates out there," he said.
It hasn't been completely smooth sailing, however. A Bay Area union group set up a demonstration at City Hall last month, decrying Amazon's labor practices and distributing fliers.
"There were some untruths in that flier," Molina said, adding that the union claimed he and Butler had negotiated a tax agreement with Amazon. That's not the case, he said, though city officials do figure they will talk with Amazon representatives in the next few weeks.
And while the city can't force the Internet retailing giant to hire local employees, "we do encourage it," Molina said. He has talked with a local job-training organization about putting together a program to teach people the skills they need to work for Amazon.
Hiring likely will gather steam about three months before the scheduled opening. Molina said the city is open to helping provide a storefront downtown for interviews, and computers for online applications.
"It's been very positive," Molina said. "I would assume that in the next month or so, we should be hearing something."
Bee Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.