Amazon bringing 1,000-plus jobs to former Norton Air Force Base

  • Published
  • By Susan Wolbarst
  • Air Force Real Property Agency Public Affairs
Folks living here received excellent news recently: Amazon will be leasing a huge building, currently under construction at the former Norton Air Force Base, and filling it with more than 1,000 workers.

The 950,000-square-foot building is located on Central Avenue, east of Tippecanoe Avenue, in an area which once served as the base's golf course. It's being built by Hillwood (master developer for the former base) and Clarion Partners as a joint venture. It could be completed as soon as this autumn, according to a press release, and will function as a fulfillment center.

Online orders will be processed and shipped from the Norton facility, which will serve as the point of sale, entitling the city to some portion of sales taxes generated. Under a compromise worked out last year with California Gov. Jerry Brown, Amazon will begin collecting California sales tax from consumers on September 15, 2012. The company received a one-year delay in exchange for agreeing to build enough warehouses in California to create at least 10,000 new full-time jobs by the end of 2015.

Amazon is a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle. The company reported earnings of $13.8 billion in the first quarter of 2012. Also known as, the company is the world's largest internet retailer.

Asked what attracted Amazon to San Bernardino, spokesman Ty Rogers replied, "We select areas with a great workforce that allow us to provide a great experience for customers. "

The company should have plenty of applicants to choose from. The city of San Bernardino (population 209,924 in 2010) had an unemployment rate of 16.9 percent in March, compared to California's statewide 11.5 percent rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other surrounding cities in the Inland Valley region report similarly high unemployment rates.

"We haven't yet posted detailed information about the jobs, but there will be more information about the specific jobs and job requirements as we get a bit closer to opening," Amazon spokesman Rogers explained.

Amazon will not be the biggest employer at the former Norton. That distinction goes to Stater Brothers, a regional grocery chain with its headquarters and giant distribution center at the former base, where it employs 2,000 people.

The Air Force Real Property Agency is responsible for remediation and property transfer at 40 former Air Force installations throughout the United States under the Base Realignment and Closure Act. At the height of BRAC, AFRPA managed 87,000 acres. Since 1988, the Air Force has transferred 90 percent, or nearly 78,800 acres, to local communities for public use. These transfers play a key role in attracting businesses like Amazon and Stater Brothers to the former Norton Air Force Base, now known as San Bernardino International Airport.