EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Amazon Inc. will be building a 625,000 square-foot fulfillment center in El Paso that’ll bring 750 jobs to the city, community leaders said.
The deal reached with the company on Wednesday began brewing three years ago when El Paso made a bid for Amazon’s secondary headquarters or HQ2, business and city officials said. The city missed out on that but was able to get the company’s consideration for other projects, such as the fulfillment center.
“In addition to the 750 full-time employees, the construction of this state-of-the-art facility will support hundreds of construction jobs,” Mayor Dee Margo said. “The new facility will be a win for El Paso as small businesses ranging from retail, hospitality to manufacturing reap the benefits for years to come.”
Amazon describes its fulfillment centers as buildings where products are stored, picked, packed and distributed to customers quickly. The new El Paso center should be operational in 2021, the company said.
“We’re excited to be growing our operations in West Texas and look forward to building out our network in El Paso,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment. “We’re grateful for the strong support we’ve received from local and state leaders and we look forward to creating over 700 full-time jobs for the El Paso community, with industry-leading pay and comprehensive benefits starting on day one.”
Margo said the El Paso region’s strategic location on the border, it’s proven transportation and logistics infrastructure, as well as its large young, bilingual and “highly trainable workforce” were factors that persuaded Amazon to ink the deal. The company is not getting tax breaks from the city and it’s starting pay will be $15 an hour.
The mayor and other community leaders making the announcement in a teleconference said Amazon brings not only prestige to the area, but also a reputation for community involvement. Employees typically contribute or volunteer to charity or community organizations and the company pushes technology and STEM learning in communities.
Borderplex Alliance CEO Jon Barela said the deal shows that El Paso is in a good position to bring in more investment.
“Having the ability to host a company that has a level of technology and logistics like this is very favorable to El Paso,” he said. “We are very confident once you get to know us, you get to love us.”
Current Borderplex Alliance efforts include trying to persuade companies looking to re-shore operations from China to come to the border.
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said Amazon’s announcement is also a boost to the morale of a community that has faced hard, constant challenges for almost two years now.
El Paso had to deal with the humanitarian crisis brought about by the migrant wave from Central America in late 2018 and throughout 2019. Nonprofits struggled to accommodate and provide for thousands of asylum seekers released from detention centers.
Then there was the Aug. 3 racially-motivated mass shooting that claimed 23 lives, shocked and saddened the community, the judge said.
And now thousands have lost their jobs here due to non-essential business closings and restrictions brought about by COVID-19.
“It’s time for us to show who we are as a community,” Samaniego said. “We continue to be one of the strongest economies in Texas … and this allow us to show that resiliency we have talked about.”