Amazon held the official groundbreaking Tuesday for its first large-scale fulfillment center in Alabama, on a site just off Powder Plant Road in Bessemer.
Dozens of state and local officials, including Gov. Kay Ivey, came to put shovels into a long mound and fling red dirt into the air.
“This is a great day for Bessemer, a great day for Amazon and a great day for the state of Alabama,” Ivey said. “Momentum is on our side and that’s made possible when companies like Amazon choose to locate and do business in our great state.”
When complete, the $325 million facility – which will have the footprint of nearly 15 football fields – will employ 1,500 people with a starting minimum wage of $15 and company benefits that start on Day 1. Read more.
Several members of the “team” assembled at Bessemer City Hall Friday morning to celebrate crossing the goal line with the official announcement that an Amazon fulfillment center is coming to Bessemer.
Rick Davis, senior vice president of economic development for the Birmingham Business Alliance, explained the secret to the success that is bringing 1,500 full-time jobs and an 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center to Powder Plant Road property previously owned by U.S. Steel.
“It’s all about the team,” Davis said. “People who are making decisions to bring companies here tell us one thing: ‘We love working in Alabama because you guys are a team.’ That’s what we have to do. What we’ve learned over the years is this only works when we all pull together.” Read more.
The city of Bessemer on Tuesday put the final two local pieces in place as incentives for Amazon to build an advanced robotics fulfillment center on Powder Plant Road in Bessemer.
The City Council passed three resolutions to stamp its approval on the move early in the afternoon. Later, the Bessemer Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a variance of the city’s height requirements to allow Amazon to build a facility that is as much as 60 feet in height.
Those were the last local hurdles for the company. The State of Alabama must now sign off on incentives for the company.
“Amazon saw what we’ve consistently said, that Bessemer’s a great place to live and do business,” Mayor Kenneth Gulley said. “Obviously God has shown favor on the city of Bessemer because this is tremendously huge.” Read more.
Rep. Allen Farley, R-McCalla, recalled days gone by in Bessemer when he spoke to the Jefferson County Commission Thursday morning before commissioners approved their incentive package to lure Amazon to the area.
“I can remember walking through downtown Bessemer when we had a Loveman’s, Pizitz (department stores) and everybody was working,” he said, conjuring images of U.S. Steel, U.S. Pipe and Pullman Standard, then one of the nation’s largest producers of railway cars.
“Then things started shutting down and Bessemer started suffering.”
But Bessemer can see a brighter day on the horizon as commissioners signed off on Amendment 772, which is their part of the equation to bring an Amazon advanced robotics fulfillment center to Powder Plant Road in Bessemer.
“This is going to put Bessemer back like it was 50 years ago,” Farley said. “We’re going to have families that are going to be growing. We’re going to have families moving to Bessemer instead of moving away from Bessemer.
“This is huge.” Read more.
Jefferson County commissioners dusted off their atob campaign buttons for their committee meeting Tuesday.
Some had called the “Alabama to Birmingham” campaign to lure in an Amazon headquarters a waste of money. As commissioners continue to lay the groundwork to draw in an Amazon advanced robotics fulfillment center, they said that was money well spent. Read more.
An ad that appeared in Wednesday’s edition of The Birmingham News said what several politicians can’t – that Jefferson County, the city of Bessemer and the state of Alabama are considering an incentive package to lure an Amazon customer fulfillment facility to Bessemer.
“I tell people this is the best unkept secret in Jefferson County and the state of Alabama right now,” Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley said. “We’re still under that non-disclosure agreement. Everybody can talk about it and say the name of it except those of us who signed that. We’re looking forward to making sure that we lock down the deal.”
According to the legal ad, the Jefferson County Commission during its June 7 meeting will consider a resolution to enter a project development agreement with Amazon.com Services Inc. That agreement calls for the county to pay no more than $3.3 million for certain roadway improvements and/or reimburse Amazon for a portion of its capital investment.
The company is looking to develop about 133 acres on Powder Plant Road in Bessemer, on which it will build an 855,000-square-foot facility. The project could employ more than 1,500 people. Read more.