Tell Alexa It’s Almost Time for Her Closeup; Amazon Building Nears Completion

Scores of Amazonians will work out of this building, possibly by the first of the New Year.

The end of 2019 is fast approaching as is the completion of the building at State Street and Carrillo Boulevard, which was leased by Amazon after Michael Rosenfeld purchased the 46,813-square-foot building in December 2017.  

Rosenfeld owns the Hotel Californian and other South Coast properties. Santa Barbara architect Brian Cearnal redesigned the former Sak’s building for use by technology companies.  

Cori Reinhard, with Amazon Corporate Communications, said Aug. 20 in an email that the huge international company already employs more than 100 workers in the Santa Barbara area. However, she did not immediately indicate how many more Amazonians will be employed in the State Street building, which has not yet been bestowed with an official name.  

Sources close to the project said many more than 100 Amazon employees will work out of the former two-story retail store. No exact opening date has been set, but December this year has been suggested.  

It’s yet to be seen if the city is willing to expedite the Amazon opening. 

Reinhard said more than 20 jobs for the Santa Barbara location already are posted on amazon.jobs, but she could not say exactly how many workers ultimately will be hired there.  

She said employees will be working on a variety of projects, including software development and issues related to Amazon Alexa, a virtual assistant developed by company, first used in the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers  

The interior of the building has been completely gutted and remodeled, while the exterior now includes new, larger windows, which will allow much more natural light into the structure.  

Although not technically an Amazon technology hub, Reinhard said, the Santa Barbara facility will join a host of other facilities the company has in California.  

She said 23 “fulfillment and sortation” centers are set for Tracy, Newark, San Bernardino, Moreno Valley, Redlands, Fresno, Brisbane, Buena Park, Eastvale, Rialto, Riverside, Sacramento, Stockton, Vacaville and Vernon.  

“Fulfillment” center, or Amazon warehouse, is where workers deal with packing products and make about $15 an hour.  

The Amazon spokeswoman said there will be “Prime Now Hubs” in San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Irvine and Silver Lake. Three tech hubs will be in the Bay Area, San Diego and Los Angeles  

Amazon campus pick-up locations will be in Long Beach, Davis, San Diego, Los Angeles, Goleta, Irvine, and Berkeley, Reinhard said. Six Amazon books stores will be in Walnut Creek, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. 

In other State Street news, the Braut Haus, 801 De la Guerra St., in Paseo Nuevo, abruptly closed last weekend. Too bad. It was a nice place to sit outside around a fire ring and hear some live music wile quaffing bear and munching on brauts. 

Also, at the old Macy’s building at State and Ortega streets, it appears the annual “House of Magic” Halloween pop-up store will open soon. The pop-up did booming business last year as Halloween becomes on of the top three holidays for which consumers spend their money.

No permanent tenant has yet been found for the former retail building at the south end of Paseo Nuevo as the mall’s $20 million remodeling effort continues.

Posted Aug. 20, 2019.

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