Despite the heavy pushback it received last year on Grand Island, Amazon hasn't given up on Western New York.
The Seattle-based Internet powerhouse plans to put up a warehouse and distribution facility at the Lake Erie Commerce Center in Hamburg, in a project estimated to cost between $47 million and $49 million.
The proposed regional distribution operation for Amazon.com Services would consist of a 181,500-square-foot building, to be constructed on 57.4 acres of land on Lakeshore Road, at the intersection with Bayview Road. That's across from the giant FedEx Corp. center that was built several years ago.
And it's expected to employ at least 50 full-time and 50 part-time workers once it opens, said Hamburg Town Supervisor James Shaw.
"The location, I think, is ideal, and we anticipate a fair number of construction jobs of all kinds," Shaw said.
The project - designed by the Dallas office of Gensler with help from Carmina Wood Morris PC - is a fraction of the size of the 3.8-million-square-foot national distribution facility that Amazon had planned last year for a 145-acre site on Long Road on Grand Island. That $300 million project drew such fervent opposition from town residents and even the Town Board that Amazon pulled the plug on the proposal last summer.
"It's not nearly as large as what was envisioned in Grand Island," Shaw said, "but it is a significant development."
The Hamburg land, which is zoned for an industrial park, is owned by developer by Frank Campofelice's Walden Development Group, through Bayview Road Associates.
Walden Development bought 64.5 acres of land from the Hamburg Industrial Development Agency's land development corporation last year for $1.15 million. Dubbed "Parcel A," it was part of the Lake Erie Commerce Center, a 150-acre office and industrial park between the CSX Corp. railroad tracks and the lake that was created to provide more available space options for new and expanding businesses. Besides FedEx, it's also home to Jameson Roofing and other tenants.
Campofelice is asking for $6.85 million in sales, mortgage recording and property tax breaks from the Hamburg IDA, which will hold a remote public hearing on the application at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 22. Written comments also will be accepted through noon Jan. 25.
Andrew DeVincentis, a representative of Walden Development, declined to comment beyond the application.
Besides the IDA, the project also would require approvals from the state Department of Transportation, and will be reviewed by the Hamburg Traffic Safety Committee and Conservation Committee, Shaw said. The site is pre-permitted under town code based on prior public hearings and environmental review, so the project would only require Planning Board review if it exceeds pre-approved specifications for building height, emissions, traffic and water or sewer standards.
Shaw added that Campofelice wants to "clear the hurdles and break ground by spring."
"I can’t say for sure when that’s going to happen, but we’ll do all we can to give it an expedited review, so we can solidify this deal," Shaw said.
Shaw said he doesn't expect the same level of opposition as Amazon faced in Grand Island.
"Whenever the status quo is altered in such a fundamental way through the construction of such a large facility, there will inevitably be some resistance to it," he said.
"However, the long-term advantages to the Town of Hamburg far outweigh any adverse consequences that may be put forward in the short term," Shaw added.
Amazon also has distribution facilities in Tonawanda and Lancaster, and owns Whole Foods, which opened its first Western New York store in the former Northtown Plaza in Amherst – now called Station Twelve.