One of Amazon’s new facilities in Huntley is primed to open on Sunday and could soon employ about 500 people in the coming months, company officials said.
The new 1.1 million-square-foot fulfillment center, located at 11400 Venture Court off Freeman Road near Route 47 and Interstate 90, will specialize in heavy and bulky inventory, such as furniture, TVs, mattresses and appliances, building site leader Kristin Farchione said. More broadly, it will carry items that exceed 49 pounds or 48 inches in length.
“Everything is large items,” Farchione said.
The building was set to open in the summer, but was delayed by several months. Village President Timothy Hoeft said from the village’s perspective, even with the delays, “it’s been smooth sailing.”
Hoeft added that Amazon’s opening is a positive for the community.
“It’s something we’ve been looking forward to,” he said. “It’s exciting times ahead.”
The new location is one of two that will eventually be open. The other, a 630,000-square-foot facility off Freeman Road, does not have an official opening date yet, Amazon spokesperson Caitlin Polochak said.
The site is expected to employ about 500 entry-level workers, Farchione said. In recent weeks, Amazon has hosted several hiring events in town. They will continue with those until the site is fully staffed, which Farchione said the company expects will take “at least three to six months.”
The site’s leadership team has been hired, which consists of about 28 people.
While the site opening on Sunday will eventually employ about 500 employees, the second building will have around 1,000, Huntley’s Director of Development Services Charles Nordman said.
Average starting pay will range from $18.50 and $21.95 an hour, depending on position and shift, and workers will have a comprehensive benefit package and a 401(k), Farchione said.
The site will be open 22 hours a day, shutting down between about 4 and 6 a.m. for maintenance, Farchione said.
Bringing Amazon to Huntley will benefit the rest of the area in a number of ways, McHenry County Economic Development Corporation President Jim McConoughey said. The jobs it creates will, in turn, create other jobs and needs in the community, such as housing. Those workers will also be frequenting other businesses.
“Everyone needs haircuts, and everyone needs lunch,” he said.
Other areas around Huntley, such as Marengo where officials hope to develop a business hub along the Route 23 and Interstate 90 corridor south of town, could see other developers drawn to McHenry County because of Amazon, he said.
“Amazon’s brand is well known,” McConoughey said. “When I talk to industrial developers, they all know about [the development]. It’s like winning a race.”
Amazon chose Huntley because of its location, as it will allow the company to fulfill next-day delivery in the area much more effectively, Farchione said.
“The city of Huntley has been super supportive,” Polochak said.
The site’s new leadership team has also been getting involved in the community, working with the food pantry and donating to some nonprofits, Farchione said.
“One of our directives is to be active in the community,” she said.
Hoeft said the benefit to the community, beyond just the economic gains, is something he considers when deciding on whether to support developments.
“It makes them part of the community,” Hoeft said. “And they’ve stepped up and done some things, and it’s exciting to see that.”
Amazon is not planning to expand the facility externally at the moment, Farchione said. But as it currently is built, Amazon will have the capability to expand within the building itself.
The site will open as a fulfillment center, and will expand into a sort center and delivery station in the coming months. The building includes space to open up a cross dock as well. A cross dock is a large receiving facility that sends goods out to smaller centers in the area.
The second site is expected to be a cross dock, as well.
Amazon had more than 43,000 employees in Illinois, as of the end of 2021, according to its website. Throughout the state, it has 20 fulfillment and sorting centers, 20 delivery stations, 28 Whole Foods Market locations, and a number of smaller locations, hubs and centers scattered through the state. Since 2010, the company has invested $14 billion in the state.
CORRECTION: The article originally misidentified the square footage of each building and was updated to clarify the second building will have 1,000 employees.