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Amazon said its new Nampa warehouse would employ 1,000. That number has grown

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 19:09:20-05

This article was originally published by John Sowell in the Idaho Statesman.

Millions.

That’s the number of packages that will leave Amazon’s $130 million fulfillment center in Nampa when it opens.
2,000.

That’s the number of workers Amazon says it plans to hire now, double the 1,000 previously announced.

The four-story warehouse at Franklin and Star roads, kitty-corner to the Lactalis cheese factory, is 650,000 square feet — the size of 11 football fields. Amazon hosted a media tour of the facility Tuesday.

“I expect most of our packages will stay in Idaho and the Treasure Valley, but that will not prevent some packages from going throughout the United States and internationally,” Tim McIntosh, Amazon’s Boise general manager, said during the tour.

Amazon said hiring would take place soon, a couple of months before the fulfillment center — the first in Idaho — opens.

“We looking forward to the launch later this year, in the holiday season,” McIntosh said.

A small listing of Nampa jobs appears on Amazon’s employment website. Job seekers also can text “Amazon” to 77088.

Workers will be paid at least $15 an hour with health insurance, up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave, and other benefits. The Seattle company will chip in 50 cents for every dollar workers contribute to their 401(k) retirement accounts.

The company will also prepay 95% of tuition for courses in high-demand fields such as game design, visual communications, nursing, radiology and IT programming.

Warehouse workers will work alongside robots to pick, pack and ship items such as books, electronics and toys to customers. Amazon has deployed the use of robots at 26 of its fulfillment centers worldwide.

The fulfillment centers that utilize robots have higher numbers of human workers because products move at a faster pace. Those warehouses are also able to store 40% more inventory, the company said.

One hundred robots shaped like race cars and looking like a Roomba vacuum on steroids will move yellow bins the size of a standing freezer across the floor. Each robot can handle 1,500 pounds of products.

During a demonstration, the bins placed on top of the robots glided silently across the room.

Three of the floors will be used for that operation, taking products from stacks and sending them to the first floor, where they will get boxed and readied for shipment.

The warehouse can hold 40 million items, half of them from companies whose products are available on Amazon.com. Hundreds of trucks will unload goods and load packages destined for customers from 100 loading docks.

From the fulfillment center, packages will go to smaller delivery stations, where they are loaded onto vans that will deliver them to customers.

EXPANDING AMAZON’S TREASURE VALLEY FOOTPRINT

The building will be one of 176 fulfillment centers Amazon operates around the world. Amazon operates a local delivery station at 1411 3rd Ave. North, near Franklin Boulevard and Interstate 84 in Nampa. It is also remodeling an 80,000-square-foot former FedEx ground delivery warehouse at 6752 S. Business Way, east of the Boise Airport, that will be used as a delivery station.

Amazon uses a parking lot at the Boise Outlets mall off I-84 in East Boise to load its delivery vans.

The new center in Nampa was developed in partnership with Panattoni Development Co. Inc. The project was code-named “Project Bronco” when it came to light in 2018, amid speculation that Amazon would occupy the building. But the company did not officially acknowledge it was involved until October.

Last year, the Nampa City Council authorized an agreement with Panattoni to fund $14 million in roadway improvements aimed at alleviating the increased traffic the center will bring. The distribution center expects to generate about 7,000 trips per day during peak delivery season.