A first look at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer (photos & videos)

Bo Jackson
Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley with Bo Jackson at the Amazon Fulfillment Center site. Phot by Jacob Blankenship

Today, Bham Now, members of the Birmingham media and local dignitaries, that included Bessemer native and sports legend Bo Jackson,  took a tour of the Amazon Fulfillment Center construction site in Bessemer.

Once completed, the state of the art facility will employ over 1500 people.  The center is expected to open in 2020.

Amazon Fulfillment Center Bessemer
Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer. Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

“I’m excited because this place represents many firsts,” stated Amazon’s  Robert Packett, who addressed group and gave a tour for the media.

“You may not know this about Amazon, but we love firsts.  We are a somewhat young company, but many years ago we shipped our first book online in July 1995. We love to celebrate firsts as a company. We are very excited that this is the first fulfillment center, in Alabama, right here in Bessemer. Today is the first time ever we have invited anyone into this fulfillment center.”

The Numbers

Amazon Fulfillment Center Bessemer
Robert Packett with Amazon describing where some of the robots will be placed within the fulfillment facility. Video by Pat Byington for Bham Now

An enormous construction project, Gray Construction’s Patrick McDowell and Amazon representatives provided the media some astounding numbers about the construction of the facility.

  • 850,000 square foot building (Amazon’s first fulfillment center was 86,000 square foot)
  • The facility is the size of 14 football fields
Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer. Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now
  • 4 stories tall
  • Gray Construction moved 1.7 million cubic yards of dirt to prepare the site
  • Poured over 8,000 cubic yards of concrete
  • Erected over 14,000 tons of steel
  • When completed there will be 22 miles of conveyance belts

Here are video and photos from the tour.


Importance to the Community

Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley was also on hand to tour the site and personally thank Amazon for choosing the Marvel City.

“As you all may know , in the mid 80s, when Pullman Standard closed its doors, the city of Bessemer had 35% unemployment here in the city. What Amazon stands to do is put back the investment we lost in the 80s.  We are so looking forward to cutting the ribbon on this facility and watching our citizens go to work and be gainfully employed.”

Amazon Fulfillment Facility Center
Amazon’s Robert Packett  describing where some of the robots will be placed within the fulfillment facility with Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley. Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Families are the Heart and Soul

Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

At the end of his presentation, Packett stressed how he and Amazon look forward to being a part of the Bessemer community.

“Your families are going to be the heart and soul of this fulfillment center and I just want to tell you how blessed that I am and that we (Amazon) are…that we get to be part of your community.”


Pat Byington
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.

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