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Exclusive: Amazon eyes lease at Delaware City warehouse

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Amazon is eyeing this building at the Delaware Logistics Park near Delaware City, in what would be its third major investment in Delaware in less than a year. | PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLIERS

DELAWARE CITY – Continuing its virtually insatiable appetite for distribution space, Amazon is eyeing to lease a large warehouse at the Delaware Logistics Park in what would be its third major lease in New Castle County in less than a year.

The roughly 577,800-square-foot distribution center in the logistics park being developed by Kansas City-based NorthPoint Development is already constructed. Amazon officials have applied for a minor re-subdivision plan with New Castle County, which only essentially seeks to modify the approved traffic circulation to better accommodate its operations.

Considering the warehouse is located in an existing logistics park, without nearby residential development, and the site improvements don’t propose to disturb any sensitive natural resources, the project is likely to move forward. Amazon has reportedly requested expedited review of the plan through the county’s Jobs Now program.

Amazon has a history of working with NorthPoint and has reportedly leased facilities in Maryland and California from the developer in just the past few months. If completed, Amazon will join Dart Container Corp., the maker of the plastic Solo Cup, as tenants of the Delaware Logistics Park.

NorthPoint is redeveloping the 190-acre former AkzoNobel property at 1386 School House Road into a complex of four industrial buildings with 2 million total square feet of distribution and fulfillment space. Located near the Route 1 interchange, the national developer was drawn to the site due to its proximity to major Eastern Seaboard markets, putting trucks within a day’s drive of 43% of the U.S. and 53% of the Canadian population.

That also fits the bill for what Amazon needs as the e-commerce giant looks to capitalize on exploding demand spurred by shoppers confined at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has been sprinting to buy up available distribution space in the tri-state as it pushes out millions of orders to customers in two days or less.

Whether the newly proposed facility is a fulfillment center that most of the public is now familiar with, however, remains to be seen. The company official whose correspondence is connected with the county filings is a senior manager with Amazon’s Last-Mile Transportation program and language in the county filings support that as the intended use.

If so, the building will be part of Amazon’s growing network of facilities that serve as delivery driver hubs for its own Amazon driver staff, third-party contractors, and Amazon Flex gig workers. So-called delivery stations are where Amazon delivery vans can be packed indoors with sorted customer orders in preparation for the final local delivery. The NorthPoint facility features 64 trailer docks and 148 trailer stalls, but also 314 parking spaces. Plans submitted to the county appear to show 96 parked vehicles inside the facility.

In response to questions regarding the location Thursday, an Amazon spokeswoman only replied that the company “has a policy of not commenting on rumors, speculation or our future roadmap.” A request for comment to a NorthPoint spokesman on Thursday afternoon had yet to be returned.

As first reported by Delaware Business Times, Amazon has already leased the 3.8 million-square-foot mega warehouse under development by Dermody Properties at the former General Motors Boxwood site in New Castle as well as a more than 1.3 million-square-foot warehouse being developed by Stoltz Real Estate Partners just a few miles north of the Delaware Logistics Park in the Bear area. Both of those projects are expected to be in operation later this year.

With the NorthPoint facility potentially added to its previous projects, Amazon will have added more than 5.5 million square feet in the last year to its real estate portfolio in Delaware, which already included its original 200,000-square-foot New Castle facility and a 1 million-square-foot Middletown fulfillment center.

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