New Amazon center to open by fall 2016

18 miles from Providence, fulfillment center anticipated to introduce over 1,000 new jobs

Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 3, 2015, Inc. is building a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Fall River, Massachusetts, that will open in roughly one year.

Workers broke ground on the center — which will receive, process and fill incoming orders from Amazon — on Oct. 19. Amazon hopes to accomplish as much construction as possible before winter weather makes labor too difficult, said Rob Bentlyewski ’14, special assistant to Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter ’76.  The company  has established the goal of operating a functioning fulfillment center next fall in order to meet the demands of the 2016 holiday season, he said.

The mayor’s office obtained permits for the land prior to making the deal with Amazon so that the company could “set up shop quickly,” Bentlyewski said.

The center, which will be located approximately 18 miles from Providence, will introduce 1,000 full-time jobs and several hundred part-time jobs in the region, Bentlyewski said.

“Most jobs will be well-paying full-time and part-time jobs with a generous fringe benefit package,” wrote Paul Vigeant, vice president of the Center for Workforce and Community Education at Bristol Community College in Fall River, in an email to The Herald.

The average annual salary for employees at the center is expected to be $35,000, Bentlyewski said, adding that the center is introducing “entry-level jobs for the most part, so this should have a pretty positive effect on Fall River and the surrounding area.”

Fall River has a notoriously high 11.1 percent unemployment rate compared to the 6.3 percent national average. Unemployment in Fall River has also dropped 30 percent in the last year, Bentlyewski said. Officials in Fall River hope the center will boost the town’s economy, he added.

The fulfillment center could also bring significant benefits to Amazon by providing geographical, temporal and energy-based advantages.

The fulfillment center will lie on the border of Fall River and Freetown, Massachusetts, allowing Amazon to access energy from both towns. There is a low risk of power outage, because if one town loses power, the other town’s power supply will kick in, Bentlyeski said.

The center will also be close to Route 24, which will make ground transportation of the packages easier, he said. “The location was pretty good for them,” he added.

“This is a huge investment by a significant international corporation,” Vigeant wrote, adding that Amazon’s “investment is an important signal to other large companies that might also be looking for a site.”

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