FRANKLIN — Amazon will open a 510,000-square-foot sorting center at Franklin’s Interstate 65 exit this year.
The internet retail giant is opening its fifth facility in Johnson County at the Sunbeam Development Corporation shell building on the northeast side of the interchange. This building is the first built in a series of industrial structures the company plans to build on nearly 550 acres at the interchange.
Amazon says the new location will bring operations close to area customers and create “hundreds” of jobs in Franklin. An exact number of jobs has not been shared with the city at this time, said Mayor Steve Barnett.
“I am proud to welcome Amazon to our beautiful city. This is great news for Franklin and the entire state of Indiana, as Amazon continues to invest in the local market. We’re thrilled Amazon has chosen the Sunbeam Development location to expand their operation and we look forward to many partnerships in the future,” Barnett said in a news release from the city.
Several types of jobs related to Amazon’s customer fulfillment operations will be created at the facility, including receiving inventory, sorting and shipping customer orders, and supporting network logistics, according to the release.
The average starting wage will be $18 per hour for roles in fulfillment and transportation. The company will provide full-time employees comprehensive benefits from day one, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave, and Amazon’s Career Choice program, in which the company will pay full college tuition for its front-line employees, the release says.
“Our ability to expand Indiana operations is the result of two things: incredible customers and a world-class workforce in the state,” Kyle DeGiulio, regional economic development manager at Amazon, said in the statement. “Since we started fulfilling customer orders in Indiana, we’ve been able to build up an amazing team of dedicated employees who now earn an average of $18 an hour and receive industry-leading benefits with opportunities for growth, advancement and post-secondary education. We look forward to continued investment as we innovate and grow to better serve our customers across the state.”
There are already three Amazon facilities operating in Greenwood, while another is operating in Whiteland, with each serving a different purpose. The five Johnson County facilities are among many in Indiana.
In the past 12 years, Amazon has created over 20,000 jobs in Indiana and invested over $15 billion across the state, the release says.
Amazon is a big internet retailer, but that doesn’t have to conflict with Franklin’s identity as a small business-supporting city, Barnett said. Attracting both small businesses and companies like Amazon are part of responsible growth, he said.
“We are looking for slow growth in the next 10 years,” Barnett said. “We hear the people. We don’t want massive growth, we want good companies. We feel like Amazon is one of those companies.”
Through the company’s Fulfillment by Amazon program the company has helped more than 22,000 authors, small and medium-sized businesses, and developers in Indiana grow their companies and reach new customers, the release says.