Anyone who’s driven up and down East 260th Street on a regular basis in the last year has watched a real-life time-lapse video of sorts as the former Euclid Square Mall site has steadily transformed into an Amazon fulfillment center.
Euclid’s director of planning and development Jonathan Holody has had a front-row seat. When he first started working for the city of Euclid seven years ago, “the mall was still standing, but it was not a functioning mall,” he says. “That was still the case when Mayor [Kirsten Holzheimer] Gail was elected. She and I both realized there was potential there.”
Indeed, as Euclid is now home to one of six fulfillment and sortation centers in Ohio (along with Etna, Monroe, North Randall, Obetz, and Twinsburg). The 650,000-square-foot facility has been fully operational since Sept. 8, following a hiring push in August for 2,000 jobs—twice the number initially estimated.
“In terms of job creation, we’re responding to customer demand and proud to be growing and adding more jobs in the state of Ohio,” says Andre Woodson, ops PR specialist for Amazon.
The jobs entail picking, packing, and shipping customer orders, as well as supporting network logistics, Woodson says. All employees receive a $15-an-hour minimum wage, along with a benefits packages including comprehensive health, vision, and dental insurance; 401(k) with 50% matching; parental leave; and $12,000 worth of Career Choice training.
Though Amazon has received a 15-year property tax abatement, the project will bring considerable benefit to Euclid—especially in light of the new jobs added. “More employees means more income taxes and more revenue for the city,” says Holody. (Case in point: North Randall’s tax base increased almost 80% between October 2018 and July 2019, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business.)
As Holody sees it, there are also plenty of intangible benefits. “[The project] removed a visual eyesore and blight from our community and replaced it with a modern, functioning building,” says Holody. “From a perception and positioning standpoint, being able to point to Amazon’s selection of Euclid as a location for a distribution facility is fantastic.”
If Amazon’s entry into North Randall is any indication, the company will also have a positive ripple effect in the community at large. According to Woodson, a childhood hunger donation is in the works to benefit Euclid youth, and Amazon donated $10,000 to the Euclid-based HELP Foundation during the 2017 holiday season (shortly after making the initial announcement about the fulfillment center).
Talk about the total package.
This article is part of our On the Ground - Euclid community reporting project in partnership with City of Euclid, Euclid City Schools, Tri-C, and Cuyahoga County Board of Health. Read the rest of our coverage here.