Amazon in Bessemer. A ground-breaking and a pay raise all on the same day

Amazon
Amazon
The official groundbreaking at the site of the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Today, Amazon, one of the world’s largest companies, held a ground-breaking in Bessemer, Alabama, to celebrate the construction phase of the new fulfillment center that will bring more than 1500 jobs to Jefferson County.

The facility is expected to open in mid-2019.

The numbers

According to Amazon officials at the groundbreaking, the facility itself is a massive undertaking.

Here are the numbers:

Size of the facility: 2.5 millions square feet of operating space
The new building footprint: Size of 15 football fields
Concrete needed to build facility: 82,000 cubic yards
Steel needed : 10,000 tons of steel
Contractors used to build the facility: Over 2200 contractors

Amazon, Kay Ivey, Bessemer
Governor Kay Ivey and Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley at the Amazon ground-breaking event. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Additionally, in June, the Birmingham Business Alliance commissioned an economic analysis prepared by the Center for Business and Economic Research, Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama. They study predicts the new facility’s annual economic impact on Jefferson County will reach $202.7 million. Statewide, the study anticipates an annual economic impact on Alabama at $232.1 million.

Most importantly, more than 1500 new jobs will be created.

Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

The facility will house Amazon’s latest technology in robots.  Inventory picked, packed and shipped at the state of the art facility will be smaller sized items, such as books, toys, health care products and electronic devices. Amazon expects the center to open before the holiday season in 2019.

“This is a great day for Bessemer, a great day for Amazon and a great day for the state of Alabama,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who was on hand at the groundbreaking.

Amazon’s new minimum wage

Coinciding with the Bessemer event was the nationwide announcement by Amazon to raise their minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $15 per hour starting next month. According to various news reports and at the public meetings before city and state incentives were approved, Amazon  employees at the new Bessemer site were expected to receive full benefits on day one and an average wage of $14.65 an hour.

The new national minimum wage increase announced by Amazon will be a boon for the new employees at the Bessemer facility.

Stay tuned for the next big news from Amazon in 2019… the official ribbon cutting to open the building!

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.