Amazon.com has announced plans to open a sizable retail order fulfillment center in the Chicago area in the upcoming year.
Negotiations have been in the works for the last 18 months, and the retail giant is now in the process of selecting the site for the initial facility. If all goes as planned, Amazon intends to open several additional facilities by 2017, ultimately bringing about 1,000 jobs to the Chicago area. Amazon’s total investment in the project will be around 75 million dollars, providing a boost not only to the local job market, but also to the local economy.
Amazon has indicated that it plans to open new distribution centers in order to increase the number of items available for same-day delivery. The company also plans to experiment with “anticipatory” shipping, a system in which packages are prepared for delivery before actually being purchased by a customer, and also intends to continue its tests on the viability of drone delivery for some items. The company also wants to continue to tests its own network of delivery carriers so that it can function independently of major shipping companies like FedEx and UPS.
Spokesmen for the state of Illinois have indicated that the state has pursued the project and proposed relationship with Amazon because Chicago is not only located in the center of the United States, but also is ideally linked to the transportation routes that the retailer will need to move its merchandise. Historically, Chicago has proven to be the ideal location for large and successful retail chains, from Montgomery Ward, to Sears, to high-end retailers like Marshall Fields. The Illinois economy has long thrived on the transportation and distribution of goods, and Amazon can certainly capitalize on these qualities with their new distribution facilities.
The 1,000 new full-time employees of the proposed distribution center can also expect positive outcomes from the project. Amazon provides a comprehensive benefits package for its full-time employees, including healthcare, 401(k) with 50% contribution matching, excellent wages, stock bonuses, and unique programs like their Career Choice program.
Since they will soon have a physical location in the state of Illinois, Amazon will also soon be required to charge Illinois residents state sales tax. At this time, no state incentives have been offered to Amazon for choosing Illinois as the location for the distribution center, although state spokesmen say that they are willing to negotiate subsidy agreements once Amazon makes its final plans.