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Amazon distribution center one step closer with Bessemer Council vote

(MGN)

Central Alabama is one step closer to a deal with Amazon.

Amazon representatives spent the morning in Bessemer, where the city council approved an incentives package for a new distribution center Tuesday.

Jefferson County approved a separate incentives package last week for the project expected to create at least 1,500 jobs.

Representatives from Amazon expect the facility to be ready July .2019.

The company is still waiting to close on the property, and to finalize its incentives with the state. But if all goes according to plan, a representative said they want to begin preparing the 133 acre site in Bessemer before the end of the month.

Bessemer city leaders emphasized what a game changer 1500 jobs can be for the city's young people.

Ryan Wilson with Amazon's economic development team stressed the benefits that will be included.

“Full time jobs get full time benefits,” Wilson told the council. “They’re actually the exact same benefits I get as a corporate employee based out of Seattle.”

Alex Leath, also part of the economic development team admitted the jobs will be tough work.

They'll pay $14.65 an hour and the company will also help pay for employee's higher education.

“You can use that for tuition on anything,” Leath explained. “A certificate program, a commercial drivers license, a welding certificate. You can use it for an associates degree right here at Lawson State.”

“My advice to our young people is to utilize this company to further your education and better your lives,” said Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley.

Gulley called this the largest single investment the city's seen, at $325 million.

The city's incentives deal includes: a portion of occupational tax to be sent back to the company, limits on permit fees and licenses and the operation of a bus stop with the BJCTA on the Amazon site.

Jongelyn Mathews was one single mom at the meeting- looking for opportunities for her two sons.

“I think that’s great,” said Mathews. “Because it’s going to motivate them, give them something to look forward to and that’s really something we need to be doing here in the city.”

Amazon plans to move quickly. It expects the hiring process to begin in about twelve months. It's already planning to use the high school facilities for jobs fairs.

The mayor says Alabama's Power is also investing in the project, with a total of more than $3 million.

Alabama Power sent ABC 33/40 a statement which reads, “Alabama Power is among numerous partners working on a potential large economic development project in Bessemer. This fits in our longstanding mission to elevate Alabama by supporting economic development and job creation.”

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