'It Is A Regional Win': Amazon Fulfillment Center Coming To North Pekin In 2022
A huge employer is coming to the Peoria area.
Web-based retail and delivery giant Amazon plans to take over a 100,000-square-foot warehouse at 1961 Edgewater Drive in North Pekin. The business will be a "fulfillment center," and Amazon plans to open next year, according to a press release from the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council.
GPEDC CEO Chris Setti said the plans have been in the works for a couple years, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused some delays.
"As they continue to build their network of delivery and fulfillment center, they had identified the Greater Peoria area as a place where they needed a center," Setti said. "(It's) kind of their last-mile delivery program."
Final jobs numbers have yet to be finalized, but similar fulfillment centers across the country typically employ between 250 and 500 people.
In the warehouse, hourly wages at Amazon start at $15 a minimum. Benefits include health care coverage and parental leave. It's not yet known how many benefits-bearing warehouse jobs Amazon will bring to North Pekin.
The facility will be open 365 days a year.
The North Pekin Fulfillment Center will be Amazon's latest Illinois investment, according to the release.
"The way I understand, the Amazon model at these large distribution centers in the Chicago area and St. Louis, their goal is that they want to be able to get you everything that you might order within a day if you're an Amazon Prime member," Setti said. "And so big trucks deliver from, let's say, a distribution center in Chicago, will deliver goods to this (facility in North Pekin.) They will be unpacked, re-sorted, and then a van will take it."
Setti said Amazon will also operate a "Flex" program, which uses independent contractors to take packages the last mile or so.
David Zimmerman is the Chairman of the Board of Tazewell County. He described Amazon's delivery opportunities as "Uber-type" jobs for people looking to supplement their income with contract work.
"It's like an Uber Eats or something. I have time in the evening, or I work second shift, so I have time in the morning ... Amazon may subcontract with me to deliver packages throughout the region for them," he said.
From 2010 to 2019 Amazon has invested over $8 billion in capital infrastructure and wages in Illinois. Amazon's footprint includes nine fulfillment and sortation centers, eight delivery stations, a technology hub, an air gateway and a regional air hub, according to the release.
Setti said Amazon received no economic incentives to locate in North Pekin.
As the economy transitions to "gig-based" jobs, Zimmerman said he's glad Amazon will be paying taxes to local municipalities.
Plus, he said, both warehouse and delivery jobs may spur wage competition as local employers vie for workers.
"When you have more jobs available, it attracts people to our area," he said. "It is a regional win. Even if Peoria County gets a big employer, or Woodford County, there are many people in Tazewell County that cross the river each day. ... It is a big win for the entire region."
At the end of last year Amazon employed more than 36,000 people in Illinois.
This is a developing story.