Motorists who travel Interstate 80 north of Davenport have had a front-row seat for the rapid rise of a new Amazon robotics fulfillment center at the 158-acre Eastern Iowa Industrial Center (EICC).
As the Quad Cities Regional Business Journal’s photos demonstrate, construction appears to have moved quickly on a major project that was publicly announced barely five months ago.
Also rapidly taking shape is a new massive nearby industrial park. The Russell Industrial Park will span 95 acres at 8730 Northwest Blvd., Davenport.
Damen Trebilcock, vice president of Russell Construction, said last week that a 251,000-square-foot building planned for the site is fully leased and expected to be occupied by the end of July 2022. Another 300,000-square-foot spec building also will be available in the fourth quarter of 2022. Construction is expected to start in late 2022 on four additional buildings boasting 1 million square feet of usable space, he said.
The nearby Amazon center is expected to open in 2022, according to Caitlin Polochak, regional PR manager for Amazon. The 640,000-square-foot center, and the 2.8 million gross square feet between its walls will be home to 1,000 workers who will pick, pack and ship items to Amazon’s global online buyers. Those numbers will make Amazon one of the Quad Cities region’s Top 15 employers.
In announcing Amazon’s decision in July to locate here, local leaders also celebrated the message it sends to other developers that Amazon chose to make Davenport home to one of the robotics fulfillment centers it is building around the world.
“Their investment in our community shows that Davenport is the ideal place for companies to locate and grow businesses,” said Davenport Mayor Mike Matson at a press conference last summer. “We look forward to this project adding to the vibrancy of our local economy.”
For Amazon, the Davenport site checked a number of boxes, according to Paul Rumler, president and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber. “They were attracted by the region’s central Midwest location, the easy access to their customers via our interstates, the availability of a large greenfield site ready for immediate construction and access to a laborshed of 743,000 individuals including a pipeline of workers with the skill sets needed for their operation,” Mr. Rumler said during the news conference.
Now, with girders in place, walls beginning to go up, and lights giving motorists a 24-hour view of the project, Quad Cities workers may be wondering when they can begin applying for the jobs the project is expected to create. Ms. Polochak said hiring will begin 30 days prior to the opening of the center in 2022.
The average starting wage for jobs at Amazon is $16 per hour. Full-time employees also will receive medical, vision and dental insurance and a 401(k) with 50% company match. The company also offers up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave and other benefits to give new parents flexibility to support their families. Employees who want to continue their education also can take part in the Career Choice program in which Amazon will pay up to 95% of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields.