The Amazon logistics center broke ground nearly seven months ago on a dirt lot that sat on Flynn and San Felipe roads in Hollister.
The new building was officially opened Sept. 29 with a ribbon cutting ceremony that included brief remarks from Amazon site general manager Alexander Bronson and Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez.
“This is a big day in Hollister. I’m so proud to be mayor at this point,” Velazquez said. “This facility will change our city, it will change our community. Great things are coming because of this facility, so I can’t thank everyone involved enough.”
Velazquez said he was astounded by the efficiency of Amazon and how smooth the process was working with the world’s largest online retailer. He also mentioned that the answers to his questions were already emailed to him before he got to the phone.
“I don’t know if that’s part of the A.I., artificial intelligence, thing you guys got going on that you guys can read my mind,” he said.
The new logistics center is 129,540 square feet, which is small compared to the flagship facilities that are more than 600,000 square feet. Amazon officials say the center will bring more than 300 new jobs to the area—100 in the facility and 200 delivery drivers. The positions have a starting pay of at least $17.75 per hour, which include comprehensive benefits like dental and paid time off.
Bronson said they are currently on a hiring ramp plan, which means their launch positions are filled but they’ll be opening up hiring soon just before the peak season.
“We are really thrilled at the job opportunities that are going to be available to local residents and also to people in nearby communities,” Michelle Leonard, CEO of the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce, said during the ceremony.
Velazquez added that having local jobs means that 300 families will get to see their mother or father home for dinner, sports programs and all of the things that tie together with family time.
He said the new facility takes traffic off of the highways and it allows Hollister residents to bike to work or take the bus to work. He added the facility will also bring in property tax and sales tax revenues.
“In baseball terms, this is a grand slam,” Velazquez said.
The first day saw 4,000 packages go out. Bronson said it was based on a ramp plan with their delivery service providers so they wouldn’t overwhelm the small businesses, allowing them to grow and develop.
Bronson said once they reach a steady state they expect to see an average of 22,000 packages to be delivered on a daily basis across 13 zip codes, encompassing more than 407 square miles.
The maximum capacity is 88,000 packages but that will depend on the order volume in the area, especially during the holiday season.
Bronson said they’ll cover down from Los Banos to Hollister and all the way down the Central Coast to Monterey and Carmel.
To achieve this goal, Amazon partners with a network of independent delivery businesses and independent contractors (Amazon Flex) to deliver customer orders.
“It’s a true pleasure and honor to get this facility up and running,” Bronson said. “As a recent transplant to the community, to be able to live and work in the same community, and have immense opportunity to give back, it’s just phenomenal.”