Construction on the warehouse facility that will house the new Amazon.com distribution center in Middletown is expected to start by next month.
Middletown’s mayor and council unanimously approved the finalized plans presented by Duke Realty Monday night, which include a 1-million-square-foot warehouse and more than 2,500 parking spaces on 76 acres of land just west of U.S. Route 301.
Randy Duplechain, a representative for Duke Realty, said that there is not a set date for a ground breaking, but construction will start sometime between the middle of January and the beginning of February.
Both the town of Middletown and Amazon are looking to get the new center up and running quickly – by the fourth quarter of 2012. If all goes according to plan, Amazon.com is anticipated to occupy the new facility by September.
Last month, a $4 million grant of federal and state funds was awarded to the project in order to extend Merrimack and Industrial drives, allowing “major access” to the property, said Middletown Mayor Kenneth Branner.
The distribution center will create 849 new, full-time jobs once it is completed with more than 2,000 seasonal jobs for up to three months twice a year. A grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund for more than $3 million is anticipated to help the company jumpstart its employment efforts.
Amazon’s $90 million investment in Middletown will not have any affect on the New Castle distribution center, which has been in operation since the ‘90s, officials said last month.
"It will add jobs and investments to the state's economy," said Amazon's Director of Public Policy Braden Cox.
Hiring for the full-time positions will be begin in July, he said.
“It will help better serve the Mid-Atlantic States,” Cox said. “It's an important part of our expansion.”
Delaware was chosen to house the new facility because it is geographically situated between multiple markets, he said.
For distribution use, 64 loading docks are planned on the back of the building with 126 spaces for tractor-trailers and having U.S. Route 301 close by provides for easier truck access.
The new Middletown warehouse will dwarf Amazon's other mid-Atlantic centers in Pennsylvania, and will be have three-times as many employees as the New Castle center.
Amazon has about 40 fulfillment centers, which fulfill orders made through Amazon.com and people selling through the market who store inventory with them, Cox said.
The 849 jobs that will be created will include manual labor, management, operations and supervisor roles.