Those blue Amazon vans that have become a daily sight in our neighborhoods are about to become even more ubiquitous on our roadways.
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An e-commerce giant’s warehouse is sprouting up on the site of the former Green Valley Nursery along Route 9A in Hawthorne, delivering a bumper crop of jobs, tax revenue and traffic along the busy state roadway.
Town of Mount Pleasant documents list USRE Hawthorne LLC as developer of the massive, $99 million project at 211 Saw Mill River Road.
But Amazon’s arrival has been anticipated for months, with the 10-acre site fitting into regional efforts to meet growing demand. The Seattle-based internet company delivered an estimated 5 billion packages in 2021, a total that has soared during the pandemic.
Construction of the storage and distribution center started in the latter part of 2021 and was expected to be completed by early next year, but may be delayed, said Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi. “They were hoping for spring of 2023, but that does depend on supply issues,” he said.
The operation is expected to generate an estimated $1.5 million a year in tax revenue, with 70-75 percent going to the Mount Pleasant school district and the town and county splitting up the balance, said Fulgenzi, who also chairs the town’s Industrial Development Agency. The IDA gave the developer a sales tax exemption on construction materials — the only tax incentive the company received, he said.
The company will widen the entrance and add a turning lane and traffic signal on Route 9A, across from Belmont Road and just north of an Audi dealership.
The prospect of adding commercial traffic to the overburdened north-south road comes amid the announcement that the state would fund a $3 million traffic study on a 10-mile stretch between Mount Pleasant and the Town of Ossining. Some 48,000 passenger vehicles and trucks a day rumble through the corridor, battering the highway’s asphalt, bridges and guardrails.
The facility includes 778 parking spots for cars and vans, plus 74 loading spaces for trucks and vans.
“It’s hard to determine which direction the deliveries are going or coming from,” Fulgenzi said. “We’ll obviously be looking at this as things start moving. I think that it’s good that we’re coordinating a (town) traffic study around the same time.”
“Everybody’s shopping from home, nobody wants to drive to a store anymore, so you got to have trucks to deliver it to you,” the supervisor said. “Nobody wants any traffic, but by the same token they want these trucks to come to their neighborhood to deliver.”
Fulgenzi has heard pros and cons from residents, with people living on nearby streets between Route 9A and the Taconic State Parkway concerned about traffic and noise. “Traffic is always something we have to manage, it’s part of growth,” he said.
Mount Pleasant OK’d the warehouse over proposals to build hundreds of townhouses at the site that would have had more of an impact. “You try to weigh it out, what’s the least impact on the area, and the Planning Board thought that this would be the best thing for this site,” Fulgenzi said.
The project is creating 1,000 jobs over the course of the construction project, and about 100 positions once the warehouse opens. An estimated 50 full-time positions would pay an average of $60,000 annually, with 50 part-time jobs paying an average of about $15 per hour.
“Some of the jobs will be generated to help local people,” Fulgenzi said. “There’s a wide range to the salaries and the expertise involved. There’re corporate offices that are going to be there running the facility, which are higher paying jobs.”
Helping hamlets like Hawthorne and Thornwood survive the e-commerce boom is among the priorities in Mount Pleasant’s master plan, said Fulgenzi, a lifelong town resident and eight-year supervisor. This includes improving the appearance along the commercial corridor of Ellwood Avenue and Commerce Street and allowing small businesses to add two floors of residential units.
E-commerce Warehouse: By the Numbers
- $99 million construction project on 10.47 acres at 211 Saw Mill River Road
- 136,000 square feet of warehouse space and 14,000 square feet of office space
- Two levels above ground and two parking levels below
- Parking for 181 cars and 597 vans plus loading spaces for 12 trucks and 62 vans