Amazon plans to hire locally for jobs packing and shipping books, electronics and other goods, and says its jobs pay more than the typical retail position. The new distribution center, expected to open in 2014, would revive a 2.8 million-square-foot site where city and state officials have tried to lure a large employer for several years. In August, city officials said they were working with a large company that wanted to build on the site but declined to identify the firm.
City Council Vice President Edward Reisinger said the warehouse could help cut Baltimore's persistently high unemployment rate.
The Seattle-based online distributor has gone on a recent building binge, opening eight new distribution centers — the company calls them fulfillment centers — across the country this year as it seeks to move closer to customers. In late July, the company announced plans to hire 5,000 full-time employees at distribution centers nationwide.
Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said the company picked the Southeast Baltimore site because of its proximity to a large customer base. Currently, the Amazon warehouse closest to Baltimore is more than 70 miles away in Middletown, Del. The closest distribution center to Washington is in Richmond, Va.