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Amazon to Build Two New Facilities and Create 1,500 New Jobs

Written on March 10, 2020
A new robotics fulfillment center in Suffolk and import processing center in Chesapeake will bring new jobs with industry-leading pay and benefits to the region

NORFOLK, Virginia — The Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (the Alliance) is pleased to announce that Amazon will establish two new state-of-the-art operations facilities in the Hampton Roads region for a total of 1,500 new jobs. In Suffolk, Amazon will invest $200 million to establish a 3.8 million sq. foot, multi-story robotics fulfillment center, creating 1,000 new jobs. The new 90-feet tall facility will be the largest industrial building in Virginia. In Chesapeake, Amazon will build a 650,000 sq. foot processing center (cross-dock), which will bring 500 new jobs. The company will invest $50 million to establish this facility, bringing the total investment to $250 million for the region. Both facilities are expected to begin operations in 2021.

The Alliance worked with the City of Suffolk’s and City of Chesapeake’s Economic Development teams, and its strategic partners at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and the Port of Virginia to secure this project for the region. Amazon plans to create a total of 1,500 direct jobs which will add 1,650 additional indirect jobs, resulting in an estimated $549.6 million impact on Hampton Roads’ Gross Regional Product (GRP).

“We are thrilled that Amazon has selected Suffolk and Chesapeake for its two newest fulfillment and processing facilities,” said Doug Smith, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance. “This announcement is a big win for the 757 and further solidifies the Hampton Roads region as a premier location for distribution-related business investment. We appreciate the collaborative efforts of our many regional and state partners who worked together to secure this project for Virginia, and we look forward to Amazon’s continued growth and success in our region.”

The announcement was made by Governor Northam this morning at Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center, where he was joined by local leaders and Amazon officials.

“Virginia has proven itself to be a prime destination with the business climate, infrastructure, global access, trained workforce, and talent pipeline that Amazon needs for its continued growth here,” said Governor Northam. “With an existing workforce of more than 10,000 full-time employees across our Commonwealth, Amazon’s economic impact in Virginia cannot be overstated. We celebrate the addition of two new, high-tech facilities in Suffolk and Chesapeake that will positively benefit the entire Hampton Roads region.”

Since opening its first operations facility in Sterling, VA in 2006, the company has grown its robust operations network to more than 10 fulfillment centers. In addition, Amazon operates 13 Whole Foods Market locations across the state and has three Prime Now Hubs, one of which is located in the Hampton Roads region. In 2018, Amazon announced that its second corporate headquarters, HQ2, will be built in Arlington, Virginia and is expected to house up to 50,000 employees upon completion.

“Virginia is a great state for business, and Amazon is excited to continue its growth and investment with two new, state-of-the-art operations facilities in Chesapeake and Suffolk,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment.“The Commonwealth and its incredible workforce have been vital to our ability to serve our incredible customers and provide great selection and super-fast Prime shipping speeds across the state and the region.”

Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than $34 billion in Virginia through its local fulfillment center and cloud infrastructure, research facilities, and compensation to thousands of employees. Amazon’s investments in Virginia contributed an additional $11 billion into the economy and, using methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the company estimates its investments in the state have created an additional 40,000 indirect jobs on top of Amazon’s 10,000 direct hires.

In addition to the impressive impact on the regional and state economy is Amazon’s commitment to workforce and talent development among its employees. All Amazon associates receive hours of safety training and ongoing coaching, and have access to continuing education opportunities through the company’s upskilling program, Career Choice. As a part of this program, employees can receive up to 95 percent of their tuition pre-paid by Amazon for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to their current career at Amazon. Since the program’s launch, over 25,000 employees have pursued degrees in field such as game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming, and radiology. Amazon has also pledged over $700 million to provide upskilling training for 100,000 U.S. employees for in-demand jobs.

“At Amazon, we want to help our employees get the skills they need for today’s—and tomorrow’s—most in-demand jobs,” said Ardine Williams, Amazon’s Vice President of Human Resources for Worldwide Operations. “We believe so strongly in supporting our employees’ long-term career goals and the continued growth of the communities in which we operate, which is why we are committed to the workforce development of Virginians across the state. These programs will help Amazonians from all backgrounds access training to move into highly skilled roles across the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retails stores, and transportation network, or pursue career paths outside of Amazon.”

“The impact of Amazon’s arrival supports the City of Suffolk’s long-term vision and commitment to developing Northgate Commerce Park,” said Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson.“We appreciate Amazon’s trust and investment in Suffolk, and we look forward to being part of the Amazon family.”

“The City of Chesapeake is extremely pleased to welcome Amazon to our ever-growing family of local, national, and international businesses,” said Chesapeake Mayor Rick West“This new facility will serve as a key operations facility for Amazon’s fulfillment network in the state, just as Chesapeake serves as the hub of south Hampton Roads. With 500 new jobs, Amazon’s confidence in Chesapeake is clear, and we’re committed to helping them rise up and leverage all our city has to offer.”

During the Governor’s announcement, several speakers noted the cooperation the City of Norfolk gave to accommodate development adjacent to Norfolk’s main water line that runs through the site in Chesapeake. As Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball noted, “In economic development, great things happen when communities collaborate.”

The Alliance is the leading regional economic development organization for the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. It is a nonprofit, public-private partnership that represents 11 localities and over 70 private sector investors. The Alliance serves as a catalyst for new business attraction, business expansion and long-term business environment improvements in Hampton Roads and is committed to a more prosperous and diverse regional economy and works tirelessly to aggressively attract, grow and retain higher wage industries, talent and jobs.

Click here to read Governor Northam’s official statement.

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