BY KYLE ARNOLD
ORLANDO – Amazon announced Monday it will expand its internet retailing empire by building a massive fulfillment center south of Orlando International Airport.
The Seattle-based company spent months working to purchase the land for the project, which will employ 1,500 full-time workers and will open in 2018, Amazon said in a statement.
“We are excited to join the Orlando community, creating more than 1,500 full-time jobs at our new fulfillment center,” Akash Chauhan, Amazon vice president of North America operations, said in a statement.
“We very much appreciate the state and local elected leaders who have supported Amazon’s arrival in Orlando, and we look forward to bringing more jobs and investment to the state in the coming months.”
Could get bigger
Amazon said the new warehouse and shipping center will be more than 850,000 square feet and “will pick, pack and ship small items to customers like books, electronics or consumer goods.”
The facility’s actual square footage could grow to be three times as big with the addition of mezzanines to accommodate robots, as has been done at other warehouses in the state.
State and county officials haven’t announced yet whether Amazon will receive any financial incentives for the warehouse, which is being built by a third-party company, Seefried Industrial Properties. Seefried has been working with the county to clear development hurdles at the property.
Attracting global brands
Tavistock Development Co., the firm that created the Lake Nona district where the facility will be built, has made the area a landing spot for big employers such as accounting firm KPMG and the United States Tennis Association.
“We are bullish on attracting well-respected, global brands like KPMG and Amazon to Lake Nona,” said Jim Zboril, president of Tavistock Development Co.
Amazon would have a 15-year lease on the new facility built by Seefried, according to emails between developers and county officials.
The land was owned by an affiliate of the Tavistock Group named Crockett Development Property LLC.
Amazon has used a growing network of fulfillment centers to solidify its dominance in internet retailing in the region.