Amazon.com, Inc. announced it plans to open a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Baltimore. The facility will provide full-time jobs for more than 1,000 employees.
Duke Realty Corp., an Indiana-based commercial real estate company, will build the facility for Amazon on the site of the former General Motors plant in Southeast Baltimore. The state declared the site an impoverished area. The facility will feature 50-foot ceilings and nearly 2,000 parking spaces, according to documents submitted by Duke Realty this summer and approved by the city. The distribution center is expected to open next year.
Amazon employees will pick, pack and ship books, electronics and consumer goods at the new facility. In the news release, Amazon said its fulfillment center jobs pay on average 30 percent more than traditional retail jobs and offer many other benefits. “We are proud to be bringing more than 1,000 full-time jobs with great wages and benefits to Baltimore,” said Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations, in a statement for the press. “These are full-time jobs that offer company stock awards, 401(k) and programs like Career Choice where Amazon will pre-pay the cost of tuition for employees to go back to school. We are grateful to the state and local elected officials who supported Amazon coming to Maryland and we look forward to being a part of the community.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the Baltimore-Towson Metropolitan Area had an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent as of August 2013, 0.2 percent lower than the national unemployment rate. In July 2013, the unemployment rate in the area was 7.5 percent, and, in August 2012, it was 4.7 percent.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake were both excited and thrilled about the good news. “As Mayor, I have made growing Baltimore City’s economy a major priority. The fulfillment center presents a unique industrial development opportunity due to its location to the Port of Baltimore, as well as its access to the city and interstate highway system. I am proud of the City’s efforts, working in partnership with the State, Duke Realty and Amazon to bring this fulfillment center and jobs to Baltimore City,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the project will get some financial help from the city and state. This incentives package helped bring the Seattle-based e-commerce company to Maryland. It will be worth over $43 million.
Photo credits: Amazon