By Tamas Mondovics
Area residents anxiously anticipating the opening of two giant Amazon warehouse facilities can now be assured of the timely completion of both fulfillment centers currently being built in Ruskin and Lakeland.
The company is simultaneously building the two centers each measuring one million sq. ft. and promising to create close to 1,000 permanent-plus additional seasonal jobs. The company just announced it would start charging sales tax on Florida purchases starting Thursday, May 1 despite the warehouses openings planned for later next fall. Due to regulatory rules, and hiring dates planned, the retailer is required to start collecting even before the physical warehouses are complete in the state.
Shortly after the land acquisition of its Ruskin warehouse location, Amazon was pleased to announce the location of a second fulfillment center, the construction of which is now well underway at 1760 County Line Rd. just over the Polk County line in Lakeland.
“We look forward to offering more than a thousand great, full-time jobs at our new fulfillment centers,” said Mike Roth, Amazon Vice President of North American fulfillment in the release last October. “We appreciate the state and local elected officials who have helped us make these exciting investments in the state of Florida.”
The Ruskin project is developed by Seefried Development Management, Inc. while Johnson Development Associates, Inc. is developing the Lakeland site. The landlord for both projects is USAA Real Estate Company. The Lakeland site is reportedly creating 385 jobs, two-third of which are expected to be full-time positions.
The two warehouses are located only 20 miles apart, but Amazon officials said that each facility will handle different types of merchandise. The Ruskin fulfillment center is said to be handling smaller consumer goods such as books and electronics, while the Lakeland center will pack and ship large items.
Amazon officials say fulfillment center jobs pay an average of 30 percent more than traditional retail jobs, not including stock grants that full-time employees also receive along with comprehensive benefits, including healthcare starting on day one, 401(k) and company stock awards.
Lindsey did not give details on the timeframe of the projects’ completion either in Lakeland or in Ruskin, but said that both projects will be completed as planned. Interested applicants can visit www.amazonfulfillmentcareers.com.