Amazon employees will work 24/7 year-round
CATHEDRAL CITY – Amazon, one of the world’s most valuable brands, is opening a commercial hub in this working-class community bringing with it some 152 year-round jobs at $15 an hour in a fragile economy.
Employees will receive multiple benefits, including paid time off and tuition reimbursement up to 95%, Stone James, director of economic development for Cathedral City, told Uken Report.
“This gives Cathedral City residents a chance to improve their lives,” Stone said. “That’s exciting. This is the point of doing the job – to give people a better life.”
The closest commercial hubs are currently located in Riverside and Moreno Valley.
After sitting empty for 16 years and “hundreds of attempts to fill it,” Amazon will occupy the 9-acre project site located at the southeast corner of Date Palm Drive and Converse Road. The site was formerly occupied by a Sam’s Club warehouse and other retail uses. The site is comprised of a main building of 116,356 square feet, a detached building of 2,400 square feet near Date Palm Drive and a vacant pad site at the northwest corner of the site. Portions of the main building and the detached building are proposed to be demolished, which will leave an approximately 93,656-square-foot building for Amazon.
The property vacancies negatively impacted property values, public perception, area revenues, city revenues and is positively correlated with increased criminal activity, according to James.
Amazon will spend $25 million making improvements to the building and will commence no later than May, according to James. Amazon has a target of late October to get people working.
Membership mega-store Sam’s Club and sister retail store Walmart left Cathedral City together in 2006, and moved to Palm Desert.
The deal took about 18 months to seal and required many relinquishing their valued holiday vacations. Landing the Seattle-based multinational technology company was the result of teamwork that included the city manager, economic development, engineering and planning,
“No one single person can stand up and beat his chest,” James said.
Amazon’s commercial hub will generate $7.7 million annually in salary, benefits and revenue for the city. Learn more about the economic impact here.
Over the years, the vacant buildings have been the source of hundreds of calls to the Cathedral City Police Department, James said. Since 1999, the Police Department has logged more than 800 calls for service, many related to vandalism and vagrants. The average time of each call was 28 minutes. The calls cost the city an estimated $57,834.
Customers will be able to pick-up and drop-off packages at the hub center between 9 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. However, the focus of the hub center is to power the last step (last mile) of the customer order process. The initial packaging and sorting are done at fulfillment centers (first mile) and sort centers (middle mile) located at other sites.
This hub center, which is significantly smaller than the typical 200,000 plus square-foot hub center, will be a 24/7 operation, employing approximately 152 employees over multiple shifts, with no more than 87 employees on site at any one time. Packages are delivered to the hub center via seven (7) semi-trailer trucks that will arrive at prescheduled times between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. The packages are unloaded within the building and moved into the Material Handling Equipment (MHE) Area where packages are sorted, assigned to delivery routes and placed onto movable racks and staged for dispatch.
The hub center will require up to 60 delivery vans for its operations with the first wave of drivers arriving at the site at 9:20 AM. Arrival of the drivers and loading of the vans are staggered for efficiency and to reduce potential congestion on and off-site. The vans will be staged in groups of 24 and will enter the building from the rear into the Van Loading Area starting at 10 a.m. The vans are loaded entirely inside the building within 20 minutes.
These vans will leave through the front of the building, exiting onto Date Palm Drive, starting at approximately 10:20 a.m. outside of peak traffic periods and school starting times. This will repeat until all vans are loaded and dispatched. No loading or unloading will occur outside of the building. Vans typically return to the hub center between 7:10 p.m. and 8:50 p.m.
The Cathedral City Council and staff continue to be focused on supporting, improving and diversifying the businesses in the city, and retaining and attracting quality development, Mayor Raymond Gregory told Uken Report. This re-use of the former Sam’s Club facility fits squarely with this goal and we are very happy Amazon has chosen Cathedral City as the home for their local logistics facility.
“This very large large building on Date Palm Drive has struggled to find the proper tenant since Sam’s Club left 15 years ago,” Gregory said. “City staff worked very hard to find a developer who could properly use the space to benefit the local neighborhood and the city. This use by Amazon will add quality jobs, allowing people who live in Cathedral City and the nearby communities to work close to home. It will also allow local residents and businesses to enjoy quicker delivery of packages, the ability to accept deliveries directly over the counter at the facility, and a central local location to make returns to Amazon. The developer worked closely with the city to address any neighborhood impacts, and will be making numerous on-site and off-site improvements to alleviate concerns. We believe this re-use will have far less negative local impact by way of traffic or noise than its original use as a big-box store did, with many of the same benefits.
“We are excited to see how this renewal will breathe new life into this area of the city and the businesses located there,” Gregory said. “We have every reason to believe this is a true win-win for Amazon and Cathedral City, and look forward to a strong partnership and prosperous future for both.”
- Stone James: Discover Cathedral City
- Raymond Gregory: Raymond Gregory
- Amazon: Shutterstock