Amazon site in Patterson nearing start of construction

10/19/2012 6:29 AM

10/19/2012 10:44 PM

Grading and other work continued at the site of Amazon's second California distribution center this week as the online retailing giant opened another 350 miles to the south.

The fulfillment center in San Bernardino opened just in time to help process in-state orders for the busy holiday shopping season. Patterson's site is expected to be complete next spring.

"They've got the base down where the foundation will go," City Manager Rod Butler said. "Construction trailers are out there, which is a good sign things are getting ready to move forward."

Butler said the city anticipates issuing building permits within the next few weeks.

"There were a couple of changes to the interior design," he said. "... It didn't change the footprint of the building at all."

Amazon's 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Patterson is slated to open next year. Amazon officials said they anticipate moving in during the second quarter of 2013.

When city officials first started discussing the center early this year, then calling it "Project X," a staff report predicted it would bring 1,000 to 1,500 jobs to the area. That's consistent with Amazon distribution centers of similar size in other areas.

San Bernardino's center, which is roughly the same size as the one planned in Patterson, opened Thursday with 700 employees. A news release issued by the governor's office of business and economic development the same day referred to 350 jobs coming to Patterson.

That's a preliminary figure provided by Amazon, said Brook Taylor, deputy director of Go-Biz, as the governor's office is called.

"That's their initial projection," Taylor said. He said Amazon initially projected 750 full-time jobs to open in San Bernardino, a figure later revised to 700.

"But the expansion potential is also there," he said. "As we saw yesterday with the San Bernardino facility, it's an incredible facility. There's a lot of money, a lot of investment in the area."

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said the online retailer isn't saying specifically how many people will be employed at the outset, outside of the "hundreds" of jobs promised in a news release earlier this year.

"It varies, but what I can say is we're really excited to bring jobs to Patterson," she said. Amazon hasn't started recruiting for those jobs yet, but job seekers can keep an eye on www. amazon.com/gp/jobs to see when that happens.

Plans on track

Cheeseman said the company's plans in Patterson are on track as it shipped out its first item in San Bernardino and plans to continue hiring there.

Bill Bassitt, president and chief executive officer of the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance, said his team met with Amazon representatives for the first time last month. He couldn't say much about the meeting because of a confidentiality agreement with the company, but he characterized it as positive.

"We had a very good meeting with them," he said. "We're still pretty excited about the fact that Amazon's coming into the county."

Bee Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @pattyguerra.

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