It’s been about three weeks since the online giant took control of 87,000 square feet at the Kettering Business Park and started scaled-back operations of what it will soon be, said Jim McCarthy of TW Development Group, which owns the building at which Amazon signed a 10-year lease.
“They’re still ramping up. From what I was told, they’re getting about 30,000 packages a day out of there and are ramping up from there,” he said. “They started delivering vans and it was just a little bit at a time…it has been a slow process so far.”
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When a customer orders a product on Amazon, fulfillment centers fill the orders. Oftentimes they’re handed off to carriers like the United States Postal Service, FedEx or United Parcel Service.
But Amazon has been working in recent months to expand its network of delivery stations, like the new operation in Kettering. Instead of traditional carriers finishing the last mile of delivery, Amazon’s fulfillment centers ship packages to the delivery stations. From there, contracted drivers in Amazon’s branded Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans deliver local packages.
There is a fulfillment center in Monroe.
The trucks drop off orders to the delivery station at night, and the vans take them out in the morning, McCarthy said.
Amazon has also tested other last-mile delivery methods like drones and sidewalk robots, which could eventually deliver area packages because of the access of a delivery station.
The building hasn’t yet received its official certificate of occupancy, but McCarthy said he expects the steps to be completed this week.
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The massive e-retailer is still able to operate after pre-final inspections for temporary occupancy deemed it safe for use, said Kettering chief building official Terry Welker. A few technical fixes are all that remain, Welker said, comparing the updates to building a house and having the chandelier left to complete.
It’s unclear when Amazon will reach peak operation, but the upcoming holiday season is a major driver in reaching full capacity quickly, McCarthy said.
“It’s been a very ambitious project,” Welker said. “I don’t think I’ve seen a project this big work this hard in some time.”
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The added jobs to the community are also a major benefit of the warehouse, McCarthy said. The center is expected to bring a minimum 300 full-time equivalent jobs by the end of 2021.
Amazon occupies about 44 percent of the property, an investment of more than $8 million, McCarthy said. Amazon also invested several million on its own into the building.
“When we bought the building it was two years ago this past July, and it was at about 30 percent occupied. And we’re now going to be close to 90 percent. So just to be able to buy that building when it was virtually vacant and falling apart essentially, and to put it back in commerce, I think has been good for the community as well,” he said.
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