In an unexpected deal welcomed by city leaders, Amazon — clearly one of the winners in pandemic business — is planning a huge new South Bay industrial center.
Amazon.com services, the delivery and commerce unit of the online retail giant, has announced the proposal of a significant new site on the south end of downtown San Jose where the company intends to install a huge new order fulfillment center.
The 17.8-acre property sits at South Seventh Street and Alma Avenue across the street from Cefcu Stadium, not far from the Happy Hallow Zoo. According to the Mercury News, the Seattle-based company paid $59.3 million for the property.
CEFCU Stadium, or Spartan Stadium, at San Jose State University | Dicklyon via Wiki Commons
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says the fulfillment center will employ at least a couple hundred people and that the hiring process has already started.
Liccardo told KPIX, "They've already started interviewing people who've been laid off through a non-profit affiliate of ours, Work2Future, and we're grateful to see a lot of folks be able to get back to work. This is a very tough time and we need these jobs."
Amazon workers at several fulfillment centers have complained about their treatment and safety throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but it hasn’t stopped the company from producing a massive profit when hundreds of other companies are slashing jobs. And they have been airing ads in which fulfillment center workers tout the company's safety precautions and the positives of the job.
Technology journalist and internet safety advocate Larry Magid told KPIX, "Amazon has done very well during the pandemic because people are depending on them for a lot of their deliveries. And they are growing, they are hiring people around the country, including the Bay Area, and ultimately, they are going to need a lot more space."
Amazon has a reputation for killing small businesses and it appears that this project would fit that model as well. Plopping a massive fulfillment center in such close quarters to the downtown area will not be easy and will require a lot of construction beyond the actual fulfillment center itself.
Businesses in the area are now bracing for letters telling them their buildings may have to be demolished to make way for the giant plant. The city will also be working through various permitting, review, and evaluation processes over the next several months. Amazon is aiming to have the fulfillment center up and running sometime in the year 2022.