CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Amazon.com plans to build two new distribution centers in southeast Tennessee, bringing up to 1,400 jobs to the area.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development released a statement Monday saying the Seattle-based online company will spend about $139 million to build the centers.One will be located at the Enterprise South Industrial Park in Chattanooga and the other along State Route 308 in neighboring Bradley County.
The Chattanooga site was filled with crews and bulldozers Monday morning to begin the groundwork for the one million square foot facility.
The jobs are expected to be created over the next three years, and they include hundreds of peak season positions.
Amazon hopes the centers will be shipping out smaller products like electronics, toys and books by the 2011 holiday season.
The sister facility in Bradley County will ship out bigger items such as furniture and appliances.
Dave Clark, vice president of North American Operations for Amazon.com, said the new facilities will allow the company to "serve customers more quickly and efficiently."
Trevor Hamilton with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce said he believes Amazon chose Tennessee because the state was able to offer a site that would be ready soon.
After Amazon called the state in early September, officials quickly obtained permits and prepared the land.
Hamilton said, "We had to put our best foot forward and let them know that we were a good location, capable workforce, had all the right attributes and could meet their timeline."
He also said the company chose Tennessee because other companies, like Volkswagen, have done the same.
"I think in the great scheme of things, it absolutely plays a role, because companies gravitate where others are choosing to invest," he said.
Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber called the wave of businesses moving in, a "halo effect."
Kisber said, "We have companies that come to us that say if Volkswagen or any of these other companies say they saw something here, we want to know what they saw."
In the long run, state and local officials said Amazon's move will bring diversity to Chattanooga's growing list of big businesses.