Update: Amazon Says Little Rock Center Will Employ More Than 1,000

Update: Amazon Says Little Rock Center Will Employ More Than 1,000
The Amazon distribution center under construction near the Little Rock Port Industrial Park will have about 3.2 million SF under roof. (Jason Burt)

Amazon on Tuesday officially announced plans to open its first fulfillment center in Little Rock, an 825,000-SF facility that will employ more than 1,000 full-time workers and open in 2021.

It's the e-commerce giant's first official announcement of the project, which Arkansas Business first reported in April. Little Rock city leaders signed off on a $3.2 million 80-acre land sale for the project in the Little Rock Port that same month. The land deal closed in May. 

"We're delighted to be building out our network of operations in Little Rock, Arkansas," Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon's vice president of global customer fulfillment, said in a news release. "We greatly appreciate the strong support from local and state leaders as we look to open our first fulfillment center and second delivery station in the state of Arkansas. We look forward to creating over a thousand jobs for the Little Rock community, with industry leading pay and comprehensive benefits starting on day one."

Amazon said workers at the new facility, under construction now in the port, "will work alongside Amazon robotics to pick, pack and ship small items to customers such as books, electronics and toys."

Amazon is also planning a new 85,000-SF delivery station, set to launch in late 2020. The company said the delivery station will "create hundreds of permanent, full-time and part-time jobs" and that delivery stations “power the last mile” of its order fulfillment process.

Other news outlets, led by the Arkansas Times, reported in late March the company’s plans to open that facility in the former Jacuzzi plant at 12401 Interstate 30 in southwest Little Rock. 

Amazon said the delivery station will also offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their own small business delivering Amazon packages, and independent contractors to deliver packages for Amazon Flex. 

Both new projects are in addition to Amazon's 14,760-SF delivery station at 1920 N. Locust St. in North Little Rock, which opened in 2018. 

Amazon said its compensation packages include a $15 per hour starting wage; full medical, vision and dental insurance; a 401(k) plan with a 50% match; and up to 20 weeks of paid leave to new parents.

State and local leaders offered the following comments about Amazon’s plans:

"It's not surprising that Amazon has selected the Port of Little Rock as the newest location for its next project," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a news release. "Arkansas has a trained workforce and is centrally located with easy access to miles of interstate, rail, and navigable waterways. I am delighted by Amazon's decision and confident that the Port of Little Rock will be a great fit for the company."

"Central Arkansas is quickly becoming a magnet for new economic development, this is due to continued investment in our infrastructure," Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde said. "Since we began planning industrial quality road and traffic infrastructure two years ago, we've attracted two international companies that are bringing new jobs to central Arkansas in large numbers."

A groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday for $11 million in infrastructure upgrades at the port, including road widening, intersection improvements and new road construction to meet heavy industrial standards and accommodate increased transportation capacity needs associated with new companies — including Amazon — opening facilities there. 

"The COVID-19 public health crisis has caused deep concern among many Little Rock families as they struggle to stay afloat due to current economic uncertainty. Today's announcement provides reassurance that Little Rock will rebound and that jobs are on the way,” Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said in the release. 

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