Completion nears for Amazon’s S. Indiana warehouse

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Contractors are in the final push to complete construction on Amazon.com Inc.’s new $150 million warehouse and distribution center in southern Indiana.

Seattle-based Amazon has been seeking workers for the center in Jeffersonville that it has said could have some 1,000 employees by 2015.

Amazon officials anticipate the center will be open by the Oct. 1 construction deadline, so it can process orders for the Christmas season with perhaps several hundred seasonal workers, Paul Wheatley, director of finance and marketing at the River Ridge Commerce Center, told The Courier-Journal for a story Friday.

Employees will work inside a building with more than 1 million square feet — the largest in the 6,000-acre business park on the site of the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, where military munitions were made until the Pentagon closed it in 1992.

Amazon officials did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Friday.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, who toured the Amazon warehouse on Tuesday, said he was amazed at the building’s expanse.

Moore said he expected to see more development soon, with construction beginning on a new Interstate 265 bridge over the Ohio River that will link Indiana and Kentucky. The East End bridge is expected to open in 2017.

“I don’t know if there’s anybody bigger than Amazon but there’s some companies out there talking about huge job creation,” Moore told WDRB-TV.

Work on what will be Amazon’s fifth large facility in Indiana started just weeks after Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels announced in January an agreement under which the online retailer would begin collecting the state’s 7 percent sales tax from customers in the state in 2014.

Many Indiana retailers — and some Republican legislators — objected to the deal, saying it put traditional stores at a price disadvantage and that the tax collections should begin sooner.

The state struck a deal with Amazon in 2007 under which the online retailer would open its first warehouse in Indiana with the promise that state lawmakers wouldn’t immediately push for online sales tax collection.

Amazon currently has distribution centers in Indianapolis and the suburban communities of Whitestown and Plainfield, but the company hasn’t given details on how many workers it has at those sites.