Amazon breaks ground on new Memphis fulfillment center

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Amazon broke ground Monday on a Memphis fulfillment center that the company says will employ 1,000 people in Raleigh.

Amazon is investing $200 million in the facility near New Allen and Hawkins Mill roads, the first in Tennessee to use iAmazon Robotics technology to pick, pack and ship smaller items, such as books and electronics.

Amazon officials touted the company’s pay, benefits including 401k with 50% match and 20 weeks paid maternal and paternal leave, and training programs for workers. Amazon said the company has invested more than $6.5 million in Tennessee since 2010.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris praised the company’s minimum wage of $15 an hour, saying he hoped it would be “a sign of things to come.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the city learned last October that Amazon wanted to work on an accelerated timeline to open the Memphis facility.

“The fact that we’re standing here today, just a few months later, is a testament that what we’re doing is working,” Strickland said. “Everyone should know Memphis is open for business.”

Strickland said there were no local PILOT tax breaks involved in construction of the Amazon center. Gov. Bill Lee said there were incentives at the state level.

The 855,000-square-foot facility is anticipated to launch for 2020 holiday shopping season.

“We look forward to creating great jobs, with industry leading pay and benefits that start on day one, in a safe, innovative workplace for residents across the region,” said Amazon’s director of regional operations Rob Packett, in a statement.

Amazon currently operates fulfillment and sortation centers in Memphis, Charleston, Chattanooga, Lebanon, Murfreesboro and Nashville.

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