CREST HILL – Mayor Ray Soliman said his phone was ringing Tuesday with calls from media and congratulations from others about Crest Hill becoming home to the next Amazon facility in Illinois.
"There are a lot of excited people in Crest Hill that Amazon is here," Soliman said.
City officials hope the same excitement spreads to retail and restaurant developers. They would like to see more business on the city's Weber Road business corridor.
Amazon plans to open a sorting facility in mid-October in the Crest Hill Business Park, which is at Weber and Division Street. It will move into a 438,000-square-foot speculative building that was completed last summer and is being retrofitted for Amazon.
The company has said it could employ anywhere from 400 to 800 workers with a peak of as many as 1,000 during the holiday season, said Scott McMaster, economic development manager for Crest Hill.
"I think that's going to provide a lot of opportunity for restaurant and retail," McMaster said.
Ricky Rockets Fuel Centers, a combination gas station, car wash and convenience store, already had plans to build on 10 acres on another corner of Weber and Division. The company has a total of 75 acres on the corner that it may develop or sell off to other developers.
McMaster said the name recognition that Amazon has already brought to Crest Hill since the announcement Tuesday night should fuel more interest in space available on Weber Road.
"It's the biggest brand in the world right now," he said. "They're not in every community, although they could be. They're growing so quickly."
Amazon in Will County has fulfillment or sorting centers in Joliet, where it has two, Romeoville and Monee.
The Crest Hill sorting center, a final destination before merchandise is picked up by delivery trucks headed to people's homes, is going into one of the last spots available in the Crest Hill Business Park.
Amazon will take up 28 acres of the 227-acre business park.
The park has two sites left, said City Administrator Heather McGuire.
The Amazon building was development by Ridgeline Property Group, which urged the city to improve the entrance to the business park, McGuire said. The entrance previously was a staggered intersection with multiple lights that slowed down trucks trying to get out and motorists trying to drive by.
The Amazon facility is located right at the new entry point, which has a simple intersection and traffic lights. McGuire said the improved entry was a factor in attracting Amazon.
City officials began talking with Amazon in December, Soliman said.
"We were excited. Wouldn't everybody like to have Amazon?" he said. The company brings "name recognition and branding. It's going to open a lot of doors for us."