Amazon breaks ground on new distribution center in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Amazon officially broke ground on its Fresno Distribution Center Monday.

The big thing is jobs - at least 1,500 when it opens next year. It's seen as a big shot in the arm to the local economy and the sign of better things to come.

"Well it's official, Amazon is coming to Fresno," Kelvyn Downes with the web giant said.

Downes, Amazon's West Coast Operations Manager, announced the long-anticipated start to construction of Amazon's Fresno Fulfillment Center.

Once complete, the nearly 1 million square foot facility will be the place most Amazon orders placed in the Central Valley will come from.

"This is where we will be maximizing our prime membership," Downes said. "So, we will be picking order, packing orders, shipping orders to deliver the customer promise to our customers locally in this area."

For Fresno's mayor, the 1,500 or more jobs is the big thing.

"What it means is jobs for Fresno and giving people opportunities," he said. "These are decent paying jobs with good benefits."

Amazon will be taking applications next year. The jobs will include salaried management and hourly workers who will fill orders assisted by robots.

"And they will be putting items on a shelf, picking it from the shelf, packing it all together to make sure we get the right items, in the right box and the right time and then obviously shipping it out to the customer," Downes said.

The company says the jobs will offer competitive wages and medical and education benefits. Amazon has five other fulfillment centers in the state, and Brand says their decision to locate here is prompting other companies to look at Fresno.

"Thank Amazon for believing in Fresno," Brand said. "Thanks for giving us the opportunity to change the narrative. This is the start of hopefully a lot of jobs coming."
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