Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/04/2012 06:52:55 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The area’s economy got a significant boost with Amazon’s decision to open a 950,000-square-foot shipping center at the site of the former Norton Air Force Base, officials said Friday.

The facility will provide full-time jobs for more than 1,000 people as early as fall, said Amazon spokesman Ty Rogers.

Those jobs are much needed but are just a down payment, said Jim Morris, son and chief of staff for Mayor Pat Morris.

“This is, I think, a culmination but also a beginning,” Jim Morris said.

Amazon, he said, “portends an ambitious future” for the rest of Southgate, the last major open space on the base site. The Southgate area was a golf course when the base was operating. Amazon is the first business to commit to opening there.

Amazon – which says it’s the world’s largest online retailer – should help bring in other businesses, said Mike Burrows, assistant director of San Bernardino International Airport.

“That’s the hope,” Burrows said. “This is a real validation, and it should help with the rest of Southgate and the IVDA area.”

The Inland Valley Development Agency, a multi-government agency developing the former base, has brought in more than 4,000 jobs directly relating to the former base site – about half of them from Stater Bros. Markets – and about 5,000 indirectly, according to a 2010 study by Cal State San Bernardino.

“This project is a perfect example of how the IVDA continues to benefit our community by creating private/public partnerships which have now added over 11,000 jobs to the city of San Bernardino,” said IVDA board member Ovidiu Popescu, a Loma Linda councilman who also is vice president of the San Bernardino International Airport Authority. “We have spent millions in infrastructure to benefit the airport and private investment.”

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