The small village of West Jefferson will soon be home to Seattle-based tech giant Amazon’s sixth Ohio distribution center. Preparations are already underway on the massive "fulfillment center" building, slated for Route 40 between Springfield and Columbus.
Amazon’s new, more than 850,000-square-foot, $175 million facility has been in the works for just a few months, West Jefferson officials say, and the project is moving at an accelerated pace.
The company promises to create more than 1,500 new full-time jobs with health, retirement and other benefits by the end of next year at the site.
Mayor Ray Martin says many of the workers will be hired to pack and ship Amazon customer orders alongside an army of robots performing other tasks.
“Two people, a husband and a wife, can go get a job out there and be able to live comfortably on a $20, $30 per hour combined income," he says. "The benefit to our community is the income tax, which will keep us from having to raise taxes for the residents as well.”
West Jefferson currently has a population of around 4,300 residents. Martin says he hopes Amazon’s new facility will help attract additional economic investment to the village.
He says the village is already prepared for an influx of new Amazon employees, having recently upgraded its water and sewer infrastructure. The village has also doubled the size of its water plant.
Martin says the new fulfillment center's location near two state highways should help insulate downtown West Jefferson from most of the expected additional vehicle traffic.
Amazon’s deal includes a 15-year tax abatement on the building's value. Martin notes Amazon will be required to pay property taxes to West Jefferson.
Other incentives for the project have not yet been finalized, a spokesperson for the Columbus regional economic development group Columbus 2020, says.
Read more about the facility.
“We are excited to open a new, state-of-the-art fulfillment center in West Jefferson, and to continue innovating in Ohio – a state committed to providing great opportunities for jobs and customer experience,” Mark Stewart, Amazon’s vice president of North America customer fulfillment, said in a press release. “Amazon is committed to providing great opportunities for employment and creating a positive economic impact for the region. 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.”