As it builds $325 million facility, Amazon’s presence already felt in Birmingham

Work is well underway on Amazon’s $325 million state-of-the-art robotics fulfillment center in Bessemer. But ahead of the completion of that facility, the online retail giant is already establishing a presence in Birmingham.

Photo credit: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

Photo credit: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

The company has erected an 18,000-square-foot sortation center in the City of Birmingham that will be operated by Amazon Logistics, said the Birmingham Business Alliance’s Vice President of Economic Development Jeff Traywick, who worked on bringing Amazon to the Birmingham region.

Amazon Logistics manages the company’s “last mile” delivery services to homes and offices and will be introducing the company’s Delivery Service Partner and Flex programs to the Birmingham area, he said.

“This is an extension of Amazon’s investment in Bessemer and will operate as a second long-term facility in our area,” Traywick said. “Amazon is bullish on Birmingham and they sought to find a solution that would get their services into the area by fourth quarter 2018. The Birmingham facility meets their short-term needs while they ramp up their delivery services in the region, and they expect to expand this operation within the next two years.”

In addition to Amazon employees at this facility, there will be contract delivery drivers hired in the area. The company has purchased Mercedes-Benz sprinter vans for this purpose, according to an article in Business Insider, which are emblazoned with Amazon’s Prime logo. This will allow homegrown delivery companies to hire delivery drivers, handle logistics and sell their delivery services to Amazon. The article also cited that Amazon has promised $300,000 in annual profits for entrepreneurs who start companies and hire up to 100 drivers for a fleet of up to 40 delivery vehicles.

“Amazon also worked closely with the city’s department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity to ensure this facility could be completed in the time necessary by ensuring the permitting process flowed as smoothly as possible,” said Traywick. “Amazon is already hiring in Birmingham and their delivery service is already operating in advance of  this upcoming holiday shopping season.”

Read more about Amazon’s plans for Birmingham here.