Amazon to build distribution site in West Jefferson, add 1,500 jobs

Columbus Dispatch

Amazon is expanding again in central Ohio.

The internet giant said Monday it will build a distribution operation in West Jefferson that will add 1,500 jobs to the region by the end of 2019.

It will become Amazon’s sixth major distribution center in Ohio and its third in the Columbus area.

“Amazon is committed to providing great opportunities for employment and creating a positive economic impact for the region,” Mark Stewart, Amazon’s vice president of North America customer fulfillment, said in a statement. “Our growth in Ohio is the result of an outstanding workforce and incredible customers, and we are proud to be adding 1,500 new jobs to the more than 6,000 Amazonians already working in the state.”

The announcement comes as Seattle-based Amazon continues to research sites for building a second headquarters, a massive project that promises 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment. Columbus is one of 20 finalists for the project.

Amazon is expected to announce the winner this year, with construction to start in 2019.

Amazon already has distribution centers in Etna Township in Licking County and Obetz in central Ohio, along with a much smaller center in Columbus as part of its Prime Now service. It also is planning distribution operations in North Randall and Euclid near Cleveland and in Monroe in southwestern Ohio.

Like Amazon’s other distribution operations in Ohio, the project in West Jefferson will be big compared with other distribution centers. The facility will be 855,000 square feet, and workers will pick, pack and ship customers items such as electronics, books, housewares and toys.

“We’re excited that Amazon is building a new fulfillment center in West Jefferson, which will help us build a stronger community for all,” said West Jefferson Mayor Ray Martin in a statement. “We’re proud of the business climate we have in West Jefferson, which is very attractive to industry leaders like Amazon.”

The announcement is just the latest of what has been a string of projects worth more than $2 billion that Amazon has developed in Ohio since 2011.

In addition to the distribution operations, Amazon has three data centers in central Ohio and wind farms in northwestern Ohio.

“It is great for Madison County and West Jefferson. On the aggregate, they are starting to have a real presence here (in central Ohio) in logistics fulfillment. ... That reinforces the notion of a very flexible, capable location,” said Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer of Columbus 2020, the region’s economic-development arm.

McDonald said the new distribution operation is separate from Amazon’s second-headquarters projects, dubbed HQ2.

“They continue to see Ohio and central Ohio as a great place to do business,” he said. “Central Ohio fulfillment is becoming critically important.”


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