Business & Economy

Amazon opens massive distribution center in San Bernardino

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Amazon’s million square foot distribution center at the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino is open for business. A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.

It’s welcome news in a city weathering a financial meltdown.

San Bernardino filed for emergency bankruptcy protection two months ago. Plummeting property and sales tax revenues hastened the city's financial troubles, and an unemployment rate of about 14-percent made it worse.

At the Amazon fulfillment center, employees will pick, pack and ship merchandise to Amazon customers across the U.S.

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San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris says the giant warehouse is the kind of project the city needs.

“It will employ year-round at least 1,000 people and seasonally may employ an additional 1,000. So we’re building up those numbers," Morris said. "We’ve got a new Hewlett-Packard facility, close to a million square feet, a big regional center for FedEx, so we’re trying to get jobs and it’s basically around the world of goods movement.”

City officials had said they were willing to consider a sales tax revenue sharing deal with the company. San Bernardino has a similar deal with the department store chain Kohl’s. But the Amazon deal has been tabled in the wake of San Bernardino’s fiscal crisis.