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Amazon bringing fulfillment center to Appling, ending months of speculation on I-20 project

Evidence of construction was visibe Monday at the Amazon fulfillment center site in Appling.
Evidence of construction was visibe Monday at the Amazon fulfillment center site in Appling.(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 2:05 PM EDT
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Monday, April 27, 2020

APPLING, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- After months of speculation, Amazon is bringing a fulfillment center to Appling and Columbia County.

After hearing rumors for months, a 77-acre site will be home to the Amazon fulfillment center -- the biggest project to come to Columbia County.

Gov. Brian Kemp's office made the announcement just after 2 p.m. Monday.

“Amazon’s continued investments in Georgia are a testament to all that our state can offer, including the logistics and top-notch workforce needed for their growing global business,” Kemp said in a statement. “I could not be more proud to welcome them to the Central Savannah River Area, and I am excited for the hardworking Georgians who will benefit from this new operation.”

And the news came when the community needed it the most.

"It's another opportunity, a new opportunity here that I think will help those are struggling right now, " Robbie Bennett of the Development Authority for Columbia County said.

As unemployment grows due to COVID-19, Bennett says the center will bring an estimated 800 jobs to the area.

"It is a huge moment, a wonderful moment for the county for the community," Bennett said.

Workers at the center will focus on picking, packing, and shipping "smaller customer orders, such as books, toys, and small household goods."

"Minimum wage for those jobs is $15 an hour, so you can imagine the wages will kind of spread from there," Bennett said. "Opportunities will grow, and I'm sure during peak season we'll see even more employment out here."

Other Columbia County leaders were also quick to cheer the decision.

“Amazon’s announcement represents the single-largest project announcement ever in Columbia County, both for job creation and capital investment. We are thankful and excited to welcome Amazon and the jobs they are bringing to our community and White Oak Business Park at I-20,” Columbia County Board of Commissioners Chairman Doug Duncan said in a statement. “I commend the effort and support of Governor Kemp, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Development Authority of Columbia County, and Columbia County’s staff. Thank you Amazon, for selecting Columbia County.”

It'll bring growth in jobs -- but also development for Columbia County. According to Bennett, the site is sure to bring more opportunities as they plan to develop 320 more acres at the industrial park.

But he won't forget about local businesses struggling after the pandemic.

"We're in a very interesting time. We have a lot of activity going on both positive and some negative," Bennett said. "Yes, we're going to support new companies coming in trying to call Columbia County home, but no matter what is going on, we cannot lose sight of supporting local industry."

Construction on the site will take about a year. The development hopes to have the center up and running by next summer.

where the Georgia Department of Transportation had already begun development in the area.

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