Amazon Expanding Chattanooga Distribution Center

Already the size of 17 football fields, Amazon’s Chattanooga, TN distribution center is about to get bigger.

Fresh off a successful holiday season in which the site became one of Amazon’s busiest in terms of volume of items handled, company officials said plans are to expand operations inside the massive Enterprise South industrial park facility.

Work will start this month on an expansion that will add onto an existing second-level mezzanine and boost floor space to about 28 football fields, said Sanjay Shah, the Chattanooga center’s general manager.

The space is expected to be ready by midsummer. Cost of the work wasn’t disclosed.

“We’re doing the expansion to meet demand,” Shah said in an interview last week that gave the Chattanooga Times Free Press an exclusive first media look inside Amazon’s Chattanooga center.

Eventually the expansion will translate to hundreds more jobs, said the UTC graduate who joined Amazon about a year ago and moved back to Chattanooga to run the local facility after working in Texas and India.

“We’ll have 5,000 [workers] at some point this year” at Amazon’s Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, facilities, he said. That’s well above the 4,000 full-time and temporary workers that Shah said the two locations had at their peak over their first Christmas season.

Currently, he said, Amazon has more than 2,000 workers in Chattanooga, as the company cut back its workforce after the holidays.

Shah said the expansion of the Chattanooga center will involve using space on one end of the facility in which to put more processing equipment and storage space for goods.

Not that there isn’t plenty of room already: The building is so big that nearly a half-dozen three-wheel bikes sit just inside the entrance to help get people from one point of the facility to another because it takes so long to walk.