NAMPA — Amazon’s first fulfillment center in Idaho is officially open for business.
Amazon and Nampa city officials held a ribbon cutting for the center Monday morning, a day after the facility began operations, said Tim McIntosh, general manager of the new center.
“This is an exciting day for Nampa,” Mayor Debbie Kling said.
Amazon officials celebrated the event with a $15,000 donation to the Idaho Foodbank and $10,000 donation to the Traveling Table, a volunteer-run mobile food pantry that partners with the food bank to distribute food to low-income residents in north Nampa.
The four-floor, approximately 650,000-square-foot Amazon building has been under construction for more than a year. McIntosh estimated the center will create about 2,000 jobs, making it Nampa’s largest single employer.
Currently, the building has between 300 and 400 employees, he said. The company in 2018 announced a $15 minimum wage for all U.S. employees.
Amazon, the nation’s second-largest private employer, has faced criticism nationwide over working conditions, including safety concerns during the pandemic as its business has skyrocketed.
McIntosh previously said during a media tour of the center that the top priority for Amazon is to keep its employees safe and follow the health guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, including social distancing and wearing masks.
Everyone, including all employees, must pass screenings that include temperature checks and symptom reviews each time they enter the property, he said. McIntosh said the facility also will install sanitation stations and have employees wear protective gear.
The Nampa center is a robotic fulfillment center, meaning items are stored on top of robots that can transport ordered items for employees to process. Approximately a third of Amazon’s 150 fulfillment centers nationwide are robotic fulfillment centers, McIntosh said.
The center will distribute small and medium-sized items, which Amazon spokeswoman Anne Laughlin said can range from an iPhone case to a small household appliance. The facility will be able to store about 40 million items and process hundreds of thousands of orders a day, McIntosh said.
An Amazon fulfillment center Nampa’s size can process millions of orders every week during the holiday season, McIntosh said. He said he doesn’t think the Nampa center will process that many orders this year, but it could next year.
The center is expected to generate nearly 7,000 vehicle trips per day during the peak holiday season. Several road projects have already been completed to accommodate the additional traffic. This includes new traffic lights bordering the building along East Franklin Road. Amazon agreed to help pay for some of these projects and will complete several others on its own.
Nampa’s public works director for transportation Jeff Barnes previously told the Idaho Press that Amazon is expected to invest about $14.2 million into transportation in Nampa, $5.5 million of which went directly to the city for transportation projects.
The center is expected to generate up to $45 million in property taxes for the city of Nampa over the next 20 years.