Amazon formally announced that the company will operate a fulfillment center at the former GM Boxwood site near Newport. No opening date was listed.
The project, which had previously been endorsed for a $4.5 million state Strategic Grant, will employ more than 1,000. Delaware was the site of the first distribution center destination for the state. Amazon still operates a center in the New Castle area that opened in 1997. At the time, Amazon was a bookseller.
The second Amazon center opened in 2012 in Middletown.
The company now has more than 100 fulfillment centers in North America and 185 worldwide.
“Amazon already employs more than 2,500 Delawareans, and we welcome additional investment that will result in more jobs for Delaware families — especially at vacant industrial sites that are ideal for redevelopment,” said Gov. John Carney. “Delaware has a world-class workforce, a central location, and a quality of life that is second to none. For those reasons and more, Delaware is a great place for businesses of all sizes to grow and create jobs.”
Amazon will lease a build-to-suit building, developed by Dermody Properties, at the site of the former General Motors’ Wilmington assembly plant, which closed in 2009 and was demolished in 2019.
A recently submitted rendering of the building does not appear to have the multi-level design concept that was first submitted to New Castle County.
This is Dermody Properties’ first venture in Delaware.Jeffrey A. Zygler, a partner at DermodyProperties said, “Delaware officials and regulatory agencies have been very responsive to our needs, which is paramount in projects of this magnitude. Their collaborative approach and commitment allowed us to attract Amazon to our project.”
The project did see scattered opposition that viewed state grant for one of the world’s largest corporations as corporate welfare.
Amazon’s new operations facility will span more than 820,000 square feet on the ground floor. Employees at the site will work alongside Amazon robotics technology to pick, pack and ship smaller customer items such as books, electronics, small household goods and toys.
In addition, Amazon will hire for staff in human resources, operations management, safety, security, finance and information technology.
Harvey, Hanna and Associates, developer of the Boxwood site, offered the following statement:
“Over the past two years, Harvey Hanna & Associates has proudly purchased the site, conducted extensive demolition, addressed remaining environmental impairment, and partnered with Dermody Properties – an accomplished, best-in-class national industrial developer – to reposition the site to be capable of attracting large numbers of high-quality jobs.The agreement also represents new progress for our vision to transform the Greater Newport area into a vibrant, transit-oriented area that includesdowntown mixed-use redevelopment; reactivation of the SEPTA passenger rail stop; and a new greenways walking and bicycle trail along the Christina River connecting Newport to the Jack Markell Trail and Wilmington Riverfront. This is an exciting time for New Castle County.”
“The First State was home to Amazon’s first fulfillment center 23 years ago,” said Ryan Smith, director of Amazon robotics fulfillment centers in North America. “I’m proud to see the continued growth and investment in Delaware with our newest fulfillment center in Wilmington. Amazon has found an outstanding, passionate workforce, strong state and local support and incredible customers across the state. We look forward to creating 1,000 new, full-time jobs with industry-leading pay and benefits, starting on day one, in a safe, innovative and quality work environment. I know first-hand the opportunity and support network we provide employees for long-term, career success, and I’m excited to provide that same opportunity for thousands of current and future Amazonians.”
Employees start with a $15 an hour minimum wage. Full-time employees receive comprehensive benefits, including full medical, vision and dental insurance as well as a 401(k) with 50 percent company match, starting on day one.
“The Amazon location announcement says something about the state of our economy, but also about the spirit of our people in New Castle County,” said County Executive Matt Meyer. “When you have one of our largest commercial sites, one that hasn’t created any jobs, barren for more than a decade, it speaks to the neighbors and the community here. Now we’re going to have the retail operation of the future, creating more than 1,000 jobs, and we’ll have a workforce that will deliver for them.”
In addition, Amazon has pledged to invest over $700 million to provide training for 100,000 U.S. employees for in-demand jobs. Programs will help Amazonians from all backgrounds access training to move into roles across the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retails stores and transportation network or pursue career paths outside of Amazon.
“At Amazon, we want to help our employees get the skills they need for today’s – and tomorrow’s – most in-demand jobs,” said Smith. “All associates go through hours of safety training and ongoing coaching and have access to continuing education opportunities through Amazon’s upskilling programs, such as Career Choice, in which the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program’s launch, more than 25,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few.”
Amazon says it has invested more than $2.5 billion in Delaware through its customer fulfillment infrastructure and compensation its employees.Amazon’s investments in Delaware have contributed an additional $1 billion into the state’s economy, and, using methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Amazon estimates its investments in the state have created additional 700-plus indirect jobs on top of the company’s 2,500 direct hires.
Amazon has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Delaware nonprofits, including the Appoquinimink Community Library, the Delaware Boys & Girls Club, the Poly Tech High School Robotics Club and the Food Bank of Delaware. The company also donated more than $20,000 in STEM learning items and toys to children battling cancer at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital, a release stated.