Amazon opens huge Dayton airport facility that will employ 2,000 workers

Amazon, one of the world’s largest online retailers, says it has officially opened a new, state-of-the-art robotics fulfillment center near Dayton that will employ about 2,000 workers.

The new 2.8 million-square-foot facility is located at 1835 Union Airpark Blvd. in the city of Union, on the northwest side of the Dayton International Airport.

The fulfillment center, called LUK2, is expected to begin processing and delivering customer orders on Aug. 31, Amazon said.

Activities at the center will include picking, packing and shipping smaller customer items, such as books, electronics and toys. The building sits across the street from a huge Procter & Gamble distribution center.

“We’re excited to officially launch our next-generation robotics Amazon fulfillment center, and we’re thrilled to create great local jobs in a safe, engaging and fun work environment where people can grow their careers in Dayton, Ohio,” said General Manager Mike Owens.

Chris Kershner, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, said Amazon’s fulfillment center is a welcome addition, adding that it makes sense for the company’s business needs.

“With 60% of the nation located within a one-day drive from the Dayton International Airport, this is the clear reason why consumer-forward companies like Amazon, P&G and Chewy have added national distribution centers,” Kershner said. “The regional economic impact of logistics and distribution in the Dayton region is in the billions.”

Amazon already has hundreds of people working at its Union fulfillment center, and the facility will ramp up hiring to meet customer demand, said Paula Morrison, an Amazon spokesperson.

“We recently hired our first cohort and will continue to employ local residents over time,” she said.

Amazon could become one of Montgomery County’s largest private employers when this facility is fully staffed, and the company also is working to open a new warehouse and “last mile” delivery station at 3134 Lightner Road in Butler Twp.

That warehouse, which is located about two miles from the fulfillment center, due north of the airport, could employ about 100 workers, an Amazon spokesperson told this newspaper last year.

That spokesperson, however, also said the fulfillment center was expected to employ more than 1,500 workers — even though it now turns out the actual payroll may be much larger than that.

The new fulfillment center expands Amazon’s robust operations and logistics network in Ohio, the company said.

The online retailer said it has created more than 37,000 jobs in the Buckeye State and invested more than $20 billion statewide.

Amazon said its investments have helped create 68,000 indirect jobs.

“An Amazon presence in Ohio means more than just the jobs provided within the four walls of our facilities,” the company said. “On top of the jobs that we created directly, our investments indirectly supported more than 1.8 million jobs across the country.”

The company also said more than 40,000 small and medium businesses and independent authors in Ohio sell to customers through its online store.

Union City Manager John Applegate said he toured the facility and was very impressed.

“It’s a good place for jobs,” Applegate said. “They’ve got good benefits, and I hope that a lot of our residents choose to work there.”

Amazon said its average starting pay is $19 per hour and that employees receive benefits including full medical, vision and dental insurance, as well as a 401(k) plan with company matches beginning on the first day of employment.

Applegate said the fulfillment center will be a regional asset that is going to employ lots of people. He said the center could have a lot more than 2,000 workers during the busy holiday season.

“Amazon knows my front doorstep real well,” he said.

The city of Union, which has about 6,900 residents, now has two massive commercial facilities. The fulfillment center is across the street from the Procter and Gamble distribution center, which opened in the mid-2010s.

Applegate said Union has about 1,500 acres of land available that it is seeking to sell to developers.

He said Union is in the running for another major project, but he can’t comment about it at this time.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company’s new local facilities will help improve the customer experience.

Amazon says its investments in Ohio now include 16 fulfillment and sortation centers, 17 delivery stations, 17 solar farms, 12 Whole Foods Market locations, four Amazon hub locker locations, two Prime Now fulfillment centers and one air hub and one wind farm.

Amazon’s fulfillment center adds to the region’s growing distribution hub near the Dayton International Airport, leveraging changes in consumer retail behavior, said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition.

“These jobs provide stability for our local economy and flexible employment opportunities,” he said. “For the Dayton region, 2,000 jobs is a big addition.”

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