RUSKIN -- The world's largest retailer is expanding one of the area's largest warehouses.
On Tuesday, Seattle-based Amazon said in a news release it will double the "operational capacity" of the 1 million-square-foot warehouse near Interstate 75 and State Road 674 it operates just 7 miles north of the Manatee County border.
According to Amazon spokeswoman Nina Lindsey, all the construction needed to expand capacity will be done inside the current warehouse building. Work at the facility has already begun.
The announcement comes just eight months after Amazon began distribution operations at the location. In September, about 1,000 new Amazon employees started work at the $200 million facility, packaging smaller retail goods such as books, DVDs, toys and small kitchen appliances to Amazon customers.
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Expansion, according to the company, is needed to warehouse and ship more goods.
"The new construction will allow the fulfillment center to store millions and millions of additional items in inventory, increasing the company's broad selection in the region and offering superfast shipping speeds
for Amazon customers," the release said
The company achieved a sales record in 2014, selling more than 2 billion items worldwide.
According to the release, hundreds of construction workers will be employed to build the facility expansion. Employment levels in the warehouse will also rise on the strength of "hundreds of full-time positions."
Amazon operates a second Florida distribution facility in Lakeland. It opened just a few days before the Ruskin center. It handles large consumer goods.
When the Ruskin facility opened late last year, Amazon officials said 375 of the positions at the center were expected to pay an average annual salary of $47,581. The remainder of the center's workforce was expected to earn about 30 percent more than they would in the rest of the retail industry, according to the company.
Amazon officials declined to estimate how many workers at the Ruskin facility live in Manatee County. When the facility opened, county economic officials said they expected that the company would employ Manatee residents.
Amazon did not specify what sort of changes would be made in the warehouse to expand the capacity of the already huge building. Situated on narly 80 acres, Amazon's Ruskin facility takes up nearly a third of the property, according the Hillsborough County property records. The property is owned by USAA Real Estate, a San Antonio company that claims on its website to control $12 billion in assets.
USAA bought the property in 2013, paying $14.6 million. The previous owner, a company controlled by Minneapolis development and construction firm Ryan Companies, still owns 45 acres directly south of the Amazon facility, according to records.
Those interested in applying for jobs at the facility may do so at workatamazonfulfillment.com.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.