Amazon plans 500 new jobs, new shipping center in Channahon

The facility will be more than 1 million square feet and employee pay will start at $15 an hour, Amazon said.

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A worker at an Amazon fulfillment center in Lebanon, Tenn., in 2014.

A worker at an Amazon fulfillment center in Lebanon, Tenn., in 2014.

AP

Amazon said Friday it plans to open a shipping center that will employ 500 people full time in Channahon, which is southwest of Joliet.

The facility will be more than 1 million square feet and be designed to handle large and bulky items, such as sports equipment, patio furniture, pet food, kayaks and bicycles, Amazon said. It said employee pay will start at $15 an hour, with a benefits package available from day one.

The retailer has more than 11,000 workers in Illinois and last month announced plans to double the size of its technology hub in downtown Chicago, adding 400 jobs over the next three years. But the company also has faced ongoing criticism for pay and benefit levels and working conditions at its warehouses.

“Illinois is a great place to do business, and we are excited to continue our growth and investment in the state with our new fulfillment center in Channahon,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment. The company said the Illinois workforce enjoys “industry-leading pay and benefits,” including health, vision and dental insurance, and a 401(k) with a 50 percent match.

The Amazon announcement included praise from Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “Illinois is the transportation hub of the Midwest, and our workforce is among the best in the world. We welcome and celebrate this new fulfillment center and the economic growth it will create in these communities and in our state,” Pritzker said.

Amazon will occupy a building that is under construction, with occupancy expected in the fall of 2020, said Tom Durkin, village administrator in Channahon. It will be in the Crossroads 55 Business Park east of Interstate 55 and south of U.S. Route 6.

Durkin said Amazon is receiving no local incentives. A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said Amazon has not requested or received state incentives tied to Channahon.

Amazon said it is building the site in a partnership with Venture One Real Estate.

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