FLORIDA -- Internet giant Amazon is applying for regulatory approvals to modify the former Cytech Hardwoods building on Route 5S off of I-90 into a "last mile" distribution center.
Florida Planning Board Chairman Michael Taylor said his board has reviewed the proposal from Amazon and has applied to become the lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review Act [SEQR] for the project.
"It's for the final mile, and Amazon is looking to start disributing all of their items completely, and I don't know if that's cutting out UPS and FedEx altogether, but they told us they have 75 different [distribution centers] across the country and this one would help service the [Amazon Fulfillment Center in Schodack] in Rensselaer County," he said.
"They told us they need to get in there and get up and running by September. September is a hard date to get ahead of the holiday rush."
Amanda Bearcroft, who works as a consultant for the Florida Planning Board, said Amazon plans to put a second story onto part of the Cytech building in order to increase its warehouse capacity. She said the company told the Planning Board it intends to employ 160 people at the location.
"This is because Jeff Bezos and Amazon are always pushing faster delivery, getting things as soon as you purchase them," she said. "The intent is if you go online tonight and order something from Amazon, it'll get to you tomorrow."
Amazon's pursuit of the Cytech Hardwoods building, currently owned by Amsterdam-based company Lott Holdings, is occurring almost simultaneously to its dropping a proposal to build a last mile distribution center in the vllage of Colonie, which was reported by spotlightnews.com on Jan. 9.
Bearcroft said Amazon intends to have three or four 18-wheel tractor trailers deliver goods from its Schodack distribution plant late at night.
"Then from about 10 a.m. through the rest of the day its smaller trucks will be out for deliveries for all of those packages," she said. "I asked them what their radius was looking like, and they said they normally like to deliver within 45 minutes of a last stop location like this. They said they will drive all the way to Utica, but not into Utica, and all the way to Albany, but not within the city limits, so it's a pretty wide net."
Taylor said Amazon plans to employ independent contractors to deliver the goods, but he wasn't sure how many.
Bearcroft said Amazon indicated to the Planning Board that it might hire people available in the community for deliveries in addition to professional drivers. She said she isn't certain how the logistics of temporary drivers would work.
"They said there would be an option like if you had some free time and wanted to go and deliver packages and make some extra money, people may be hired as temporary drivers to deliver some of these packages," she said.
If it receives all of its regulatory approvals, Amazon will become another distribution center on 5S in addition to the Target Distribution Center and Dollar General Distribution Center, both located in the Florida Business Park Extension.
Taylor said Amazon has conducted a traffic study and determined 5S has the capacity to handle its trucks, but the company will need to build some turning lanes. He said Amazon has hired Albany-based Bohler Engineering to create the plans for the construction it will need for the turning lanes and upgrading the existing building.
Bearcroft said to her knowledge Amazon has not sought any economic incentives from Montgomery County for the project. She said Amazon did not mention the possibility of drone delivery of items from the 5S location.
Taylor said the next step in the process will be a public hearing for the Florida Planning Board becoming the lead agency for the SEQR process for the Amazon project, which he said will occur at the Planning Board's April meeting. He said the state is expected to approve the town for SEQR lead agency.