ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you’ve driven up I-40 toward the West Mesa, you’ve seen it taking shape; Amazon’s warehouse and distribution center are enormous. If there’s a building in the metro area with more square footage, we haven’t located it.

Announced just last May, the Amazon building near I-40 and Atrisco Vista is coming along fast. It’s also hard to miss — even from the freeway.

“Just the current economic impact has been huge,” said Mayling Armijo, Economic Development Director for Bernalillo County. “The building is over 50-percent done so just the construction jobs alone, the materials and supplies that had to be purchased locally.”

Bernalillo County says while Amazon has its own national contractor, they did subcontract locally and got some supplies from New Mexico companies, though not detailing which ones. Since construction is considered an essential industry in the state, the center’s build was not derailed or delayed by COVID.

KRQE News 13 spoke with Amazon Tuesday and also got a big update. When the project was first announced, we were told the facility would be more than 465,000 square feet. It’s actually much more than that. The ground level, alone, is around 600,000 square feet and it has five floors. Altogether, it totals more than 2.5 million square feet. To put that in perspective, that’s more floor space than the Sunport, county jail, US Eagle building downtown, and Intel in Rio Rancho — combined.

The center is set to open later this year. Bernalillo County’s Economic Development Department hopes this will open the door for other big companies to set up here, as well as to support area small businesses that use Amazon as a selling medium.

“If we’re good partners with Amazon or any company, from a government or public side, that is going to show a welcoming environment to those businesses,” said Armijo. “I hope word gets out that we’re really good at what we do and helping businesses get off the ground and helping businesses develop here.”

In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Lisa Guinn says:

Amazon is excited to open its first New Mexico fulfillment center in Bernalillo County. The site is anticipated to launch later this year, and will create 1,000 new, full-time jobs with Amazon’s minimum $15 per hour wage, comprehensive benefits starting on day one of employment, and opportunities for career growth. We appreciate the strong support from county and state leaders, and look forward to continuing to serve customers with great delivery options across the state and region.

With this massive fulfillment center comes a massive amount of full-time jobs — at least a thousand — all starting at a minimum of $15 an hour with full benefits. According to Amazon, they’ll begin hiring a few months before the building opens later this year. An exact opening date has not been determined yet.

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