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August 19, 2019

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Amazon shows off new North Las Vegas fulfillment center

Amazon Fulfillment Center

Wade Vandervort

From left, Amazon representative Eduardo Escalante and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee tour a new 855,000-square-foot Amazon customer fulfillment facility in North Las Vegas Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018.

Amazon Fulfillment Center

Kameron Lurf lays stickers to guide sorting robots during a tour of a new 855,000- square-foot Amazon customer fulfillment facility, in North Las Vegas Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. This is Amazon's sixth fulfillment center in Nevada and will create over 1,000 full-time jobs when completed. Launch slideshow »

For now, getting to this mega warehouse in North Las Vegas requires driving on a gravel roadway. It’s new enough that navigation apps don’t yet recognize it.

As it stands, a lot of the 855,000 square feet is empty space.

But machinery clanked on Thursday, and workers covered metal beams with Amazon-yellow paint.

By the middle of next year, the site near Ann Road and Sloan Lane will no longer be under construction. Instead, it will house a massive four-floor Amazon fulfillment center, replacing construction crews and their equipment with about 1,000 full-time workers, a plethora of inventory ready to ship out, and robots that will facilitate their work.

This is the fourth facility Amazon has built in the city, and the sixth in the state. Nevada provided no tax breaks for the project, according to the Associated Press.

“(Amazon) found a home here with us,” North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee said, noting that it’s important for Southern Nevada to diversify its economy and look beyond tourism, gaming and hospitality, in order to become recession proof.

The facility will have docks that will receive a variety of smaller merchandise, such as books, electronics and toys — about 50 percent that are products of small businesses, the company touts. Those items are then stored on library fields.

When an order comes in, robots pick them out and send them through a conveyer belt system to associates who package them, said Amazon representative Eduardo Escalante, who led the hard-hat tour.

The packages, ready to be mailed, then exit through the out docks, he said. By completion, the warehouse will have used up enough concrete to fill eight Olympic-sized pools and 400 miles worth of wire, Escalante said.

As part of the tour, project partners Amazon, VanTrust Real Estate, and the Layton construction company awarded the STEM and robotics programs of the Clark County School District with a $25,000 check.

When the tour ended, Lee and others signed a beam with black markers — an Amazon tradition, Escalante said.

Agreeing with a pair of participants who appeared amazed with the tour, Escalante said, “This is where the magic happens.”