Amazon opened its giant new fulfillment center in Otay Mesa to the press and local officials on Tuesday, showing off a state-of-the-art facility filled with robots and newly hired employees.

“We are the largest Amazon facility in California by size by far,” said General Manager JaNiece Ford, who moved to San Diego from Akron to manage the facility.

Ford led a tour past truck loading docks, sprawling conveyor systems, thousands of robot transporters, problem-solving teams, and fast-moving lines of packages in the 3 million-square-foot facility at Otay Mesa Road and Enrico Fermi Boulevard just north of the border.

Robots loaded with stacks of bins were constantly moving, shuttling from place to place, but fenced off from humans for safety.

“Think about it as the bins walking up to associates,” said Ford.

She manages what the world’s second-largest retailer calls “SAN3” with a staff of 1,500 associates working two shifts daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The center officially opened on Sept. 3 and began full operation on Sept. 7

“We had one of the hardest working startup teams,” Ford said, adding that “away teams” from other locations are now training new associates while also learning about the latest Amazon technology installed in San Diego.

Some of the areas in the four-story facility were off-limits because they have the new fulfillment technology that Amazon wants to keep secret.

The company declined to say how much the new center cost, but has reported investing $12.3 billion in the San Diego area over the past decade.

Amazon is still hiring for the new facility, with applications available online at amazon.com/otaymesa or by texting SDNOW to 77088.

The company pays a $15 per hour starting wage and offers benefits and advancement opportunities.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.