Site grading is underway in Woodbury where plans to open its fourth Twin Cities distribution center next year, city officials confirmed.

The project, which was dubbed "Project Belle" in the city's public meeting records to avoid naming the tenant, is expected to create jobs for 500 workers and swell to double that in future holiday shopping seasons.

Woodbury City Planner Eric Searles said the 515,000-square-foot distribution center at the southwest corner of Hudson Road and Manning Avenue should be completed in late summer. Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. is developing the 73-acre site.

Ryan also built Amazon's nearly 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Shakopee in 2016. Amazon opened a 750,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Lakeville in late August, designed to handle only large products weighing 50 pounds or more.

In May, the city of St. Cloud announced that Amazon is building a new delivery center there that should open before year's end.

Amazon spokesman Scott Seroka declined to comment about the project in Woodbury, but said Amazon has opened 250 new warehouses, fulfillment and distribution centers in the United States this year, including 100 in September.

"We are growing that fast," Seroka said, adding that Amazon is doing what it can to deliver consumer products to customers "as fast as we can."

The race to add new distribution sites speaks to growing demand for home-delivered goods, a trend that accelerated in recent years and exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shifting consumer preferences have set off a warehouse building boom nationwide and in Minnesota. The industrial building frenzy is helping to offset the slumping office real estate sector that has struggled since the coronavirus pandemic forced many employees to work remotely.

Ryan Cos., which is also building a 245,000-square-foot Talamore Senior Living Center in Woodbury, declined to comment about Amazon or the Woodbury warehouse project. It did not disclose the cost of the construction.

City records showed that Amazon's new warehouse will include 18,750 square feet of office, 498,500 square feet of warehouse and a mezzanine mechanical space.

The facility will serve as a consumer goods distribution center for satellite facilities within the metropolitan and suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul region, city records said.

In an e-mail, Searles said the Amazon warehouse is the latest of several building and hiring projects that are expected to benefit the suburb in the east metro.

Late last year, the Kindeva Drug Delivery firm, a pharmaceutical products wholesaler that spun off from 3M, began construction on a 139,000-square-foot factory and research lab not far from the Amazon site. The site will house 250 headquarters workers, 35 of whom will be new.

Together, Amazon and Kindeva "create a business environment within [Woodbury's] northeast area that will ultimately provide office/showroom, warehouse, distribution and light industrial business that are currently underrepresented within the city's tax base," Searles said in an e-mail.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of warehouses Amazon has opened this year. The story has been updated with the correct number: 250.