Business

Amazon removes suspense, formally announces first Iowa fulfillment center in Bondurant

Tech giant expects to hire 1,000 full-time workers

Boxes roll down a conveyor belt inside an Amazon fulfillment center in Charlotte, N.C. Amazon on Thursday announced it i
Boxes roll down a conveyor belt inside an Amazon fulfillment center in Charlotte, N.C. Amazon on Thursday announced it is building a large fulfillment center in Bondurant, just northeast of Des Moines. (TNS)

Amazon on Thursday lifted the veil of secrecy surrounding “Project Bluejay,” confirming months of speculation that it was building a large fulfillment center in Bondurant.

The $250 million, 645,000-square-foot center will be the Seattle-based tech giant’s first in Iowa.

Expected to open late this year, the center will support 1,000 new full-time employees, who, in tandem with Amazon robotics, will handle and ship small items like books, electronics and toys to customers, Amazon said in a news release.

“We are delighted to be opening our first Iowa fulfillment center in the city of Bondurant and look forward to creating 1,000 new, full-time jobs with Amazon’s $15 minimum wage and industry-leading benefits,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment.

“The site will help us continue to serve customers with great delivery options and we appreciate the strong support from local and state leaders.”

The five-story warehouse and distribution center is in the works on 165 acres of farmland off Northeast Hubbell Avenue in Bondurant, a city of 4,000 just northeast of Des Moines.

“Amazon’s investment in our community will have significant impact throughout the greater Des Moines region,” said Bondurant Mayor Curt Sullivan. “This project supports the city’s vision to enhance economic development opportunities and diversify employment options.

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“It also enables the city to upgrade the public infrastructure improvements around this site for the betterment of our community members. The investments and the jobs coming to Bondurant will enhance our ability to support future public improvements and spur additional economic development.”

Bondurant officials previously cited nondisclosure agreements in declining to identify the company behind “Project Bluejay.”

Even so, project materials and a state roadwork grant application — which included language and statistics lifted directly from Amazon’s website and securities filings — supported speculation that the project would be an Amazon fulfillment center.

The company operates more than 175 such centers worldwide, with more than 110 in North America, according to its website.

Commenting on Amazon’s new center, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told The Gazette, “We have an economy that’s growing and we’re creating an environment that says this is the place to do business.”

The state did not offer any incentives for the project, Reynolds said.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

Gazette reporter Rod Boshart contributed to this story.

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