ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Amazon is coming to New Mexico. The retail and shipping giant is already building a massive fulfillment center in Albuquerque, likely bringing around 1,000 jobs to the Albuquerque area. Bernalillo County officials say construction is already underway for the 465,000-square-foot, multi-level fulfillment center.

This is huge news for New Mexico and it really came as a surprise happening without the very public bidding wars that usually take place between cities when Amazon announces a new center. Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley says at the beginning of this year, Amazon approached Bernalillo County, and talks began about building a facility in Albuquerque.

Bernalillo County approved $6.5 million for infrastructure improvements related to the project that is already under construction off I-40 and Atrisco Vista. County leaders say centers similar in size typically create 1,000 to 1,500 jobs. Amazon says the facility is expected to open in late 2021.

County leaders also say they now calling the area the Upper Petroglyphs Industrial Park and Amazon will sit alongside FedEx, Shamrock Farms, and Tempur-Pedic. New Mexico is the only state in the southwest without a fulfillment center and is currently sandwiched between two centers in both Phoenix and Denver.

O’Malley says that area right off I-40, minutes away from the Big-I and near Double Eagle Airport was a huge draw for Amazon and explains the small airport could soon be home to several huge Amazon planes. O’Malley says the addition of Amazon specifically at that location will help balance the currently disproportional amount of housing, compared to jobs, available on Albuquerque’s westside.

“What we have now is an imbalance, more housing so people have to cross the river and so, of course, any opportunity for some good-paying jobs. I think that’s a huge huge benefit for the area and the community, so I’m pretty excited about that,” said O’Malley.

There are some perks for Amazon employees including up to 20 weeks of paid maternal and parental paid leave. They’ll also pay 95% of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields regardless of whether the skill is relevant to a career in Amazon. On top of Amazon’s $15 per hour wage, the company also offers full-time employees benefits which include full medical, vision and dental insurance as well as a 401 (k) with 50% match starting on day one.

O’Malley says the county’s $6.5 million will pay for road improvements and lighting in the area. In a press release, the county says infrastructure improvement will include things like street extensions, installation of curbs, gutters, lighting and paving.

Amazon says the facility is expected to open in late 2021. It’s not clear yet when the company will begin hiring.

Statement from Amazon:

Amazon is excited to break ground on its first New Mexico fulfillment center in Bernalillo County. The site is anticipated to launch in late 2021 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.

Amazon Spokesperson, Lisa Guinn