Amazon Plans Warehouse at Gabreski Airport for East End Deliveries

Hampton Business Park, Westhampton
The Hampton Business Park is part of the county owner Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. Credit: Taylor K. Vecsey

An Amazon e-commerce warehouse center for “last mile” distribution, designed to service the East End, could be coming to Westhampton Beach.

A 91,000-square-foot warehouse on 18.4 acres at 245 Roger’s Way has been proposed for the Hampton Business Park, a county-owned property at the Francis Gabreski Airport that is being developed by Rechler Equity Partners.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency granted preliminary approval for $2.3 million in tax breaks—or $157,000 over 15 years—to support the $36 million construction project.

Rechler Equity will be making a $28.5 million investment, and Amazon Services LLC, which would have a 15-year lease, agreed to a $7.5 investment for equipment inside the warehouse, according to Guy W. Germano of Germano and Cahill, a Holbrook law firm, who pitched the project to the board during the October 22 meeting.

The incentives include a $818,300 reduction in property taxes over 15 years, or a 53% tax savings.

Rechler Equity, a Plainview-based company that controls more than 6 million square feet of technology, industrial and office space on Long Island, was awarded the right to develop about 50 acres of property and a half-million square feet of industrial and warehouse space at the county-owned airport, located off Old Riverhead Road, in 2009, according to Anthony J. Catapano, the IDA executive director.  The original idea for the business park was part of a joint project between Suffolk County and the Town of Southampton in 2005, but the property largely sat vacant until Gregg and Mitchell Rechler got involved.

Following a revised masterplan and a State Environmental Quality Review “to create a park that was modern and would provide the kinds of buildings that industries look for,” Germano said, the Rechlers first built a spec building at 220 Roger’s Way. It is now home to such tenants as the Westhampton Beach Brewing Company and Tate’s Cookies, which has a warehouse where the baked goods are brought after they are manufactured at a Moriches location.

A second building was then built at 200 Roger’s Way and a third at 215 Roger’s Way, which is about half-leased, Germano said. There are at least 223 employees between the three buildings, Germano said.

The building for Amazon would replace a 7,633-square-foot space and be the fourth building in a series of eight in the business park.

“One thing to remember,” Germano said, “this project was always conceived to provide space for businesses to serve the East End where there really isn’t any space.”

The project would create an estimated 100 new construction jobs, and once the building is completed, 50 full-time positions at Amazon with a $1.7 million annual payroll.

The proposed facility would be part of a network of delivery operations, in which packages are transported to the delivery stations by tractor trailers from neighboring Amazon fulfillment and sortation centers and then sorted and loaded into delivery vans.

Brad Griggs, a senior manager on Amazon’s economic development team, mapped out what a typical day at the warehouse would look like once it is built. Eighteen-wheeler tractor trailer trucks will visit mostly between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with about 10% of the trucks coming during the day, mainly to meet the demand of same-day services, he said.

Amazon associates, a mix of full-, part-time and seasonal employees, will also largely be there overnight to unload tractor trailers along the conveyance system and stage the packages for the morning delivery cycle, according to Griggs. Amazon delivery vans, made up of independent contractors, will make pickups late-morning after the rush-hour period. He said it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to load each van.

There will be what he described as four to six waves of vans, or roughly 120 to 150 vans, arriving each day for deliveries, increasing to the mid-200s during peak season around the holidays. The vans will return in the same wave pattern starting around 7 p.m.

In the afternoon, Amazon same-day delivery drivers will arrive to make pickups. Amazon Flex is like an Uber or Lyft service, but for packages. Registered drivers with proof of insurance make between $22 and $25 an hour delivering Amazon packages in their personal vehicle, Griggs said.

Amazon is committing to at least 50 full-time employees, who will make $15 an hour minimum and receive medical and dental benefits, as well as a 401k and life insurance, Griggs told the IDA board. Amazon recently opened a similar facility in Shirley, where 70 to 75 people are employed.

Following a unanimous vote in favor of the tax breaks to see the project completed, Natalie Wright, the chairperson of the Suffolk IDA, said, “Obviously this project is a long-time coming and it’s really great to see this phase moving forward.”

A spokesman for Rechler Equity Partners declined to comment.

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