Amazon.com is building a third California distribution center, this one in Tracy.
The giant Internet retailer, confirming months of speculation, said the new center will bring the Tracy region "hundreds of full-time jobs with benefits."
Amazon's announcement continues the sweeping turnaround in the retailer's once-frosty relationship with California a turnaround based on a new company strategy.
The company for years steered clear of planting roots in California. It chose Seattle instead of the Bay Area for its headquarters because it feared that a physical presence in the state would force it to collect sales tax from California customers. That would have erased a big chunk of its cost advantage over brick-and-mortar stores.
When Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in 2011 declaring that Amazon and other e-commerce merchants had to collect the tax anyway, Amazon launched a ballot referendum to overturn the law.
Weeks later, the company agreed to a compromise. A new law was signed that gave Amazon a year's grace period. That expired last September, and Amazon has been collecting sales tax in California ever since. It's also given ground on the sales tax issue in at least seven other states in the past year or so.
Behind Amazon's compromise is a strategy based on building distribution centers as close to major population centers as possible. The goal is to compress delivery times the company already offers same-day delivery in such cities as New York and Chicago.
The company has pledged to create at least 10,000 jobs in California. Its first center, in San Bernardino, opened last October. The second, in Patterson, opens this summer. No timetable was given on the Tracy facility.
"We are grateful to be members of the California business community and to employ so many hardworking and skilled Californians," said Mike Roth, an Amazon vice president, in a prepared statement.
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