By Jerry Underwood
Made in Alabama

Internet retail giant Amazon officially kicked off a construction project today for a technologically advanced fulfillment center in Bessemer that will employ 1,500 workers once the sprawling facility is fully operational next year.

Amazon’s 855,000-square-foot facility is being constructed on 133 acres of property formerly owned by U.S. Steel off Powder Plant Road in Bessemer, just minutes away from Birmingham. Total investment in the project is $325 million.

Amazon officials joined Gov. Kay Ivey and leaders from Jefferson County and the city of Bessemer at a ceremonial groundbreaking this afternoon at the site, where construction is already under way on the facility.

Ryan Lively, operations manager for Amazon, said the company’s first Alabama fulfillment center will house the latest technology, including state-of-the-art robotics, to help the 1,500 workers pick, pack and ship items such as books, toys, health care products and electronics items to customers in the Southeast and beyond.

“We expect this building to have its Day 1 before the peak holiday season in 2019,” Lively said.