Economic Development

Amazon Leases Building for Small Distribution Center

NORTH JACKSON, Ohio – Online retail giant Amazon will establish its first presence in the Mahoning Valley with a small-scale distribution center and warehouse at the Youngstown Commerce Park that should be operational by this summer.

So says Lee Burdman, managing partner of Redstone Investments in Girard, which owns a 43,200-square-foot warehouse and distribution center at the park that Amazon has leased.

“This is what is considered a last-mile distribution center and will serve the Youngstown area,” Burdman said Tuesday. Amazon is making improvements to the site.

It is the first brick-and-mortar Amazon center in the region, Burdman said.

The new distribution center has the potential for “hundreds of work opportunities for small businesses and independent contractors,” according to Amazon spokesperson Shone Jemmott. The service offers the opportunity for small businesses to deliver for Amazon as well as independent contractors. These contractors could earn between $18 and $25 an hour delivering for Amazon. The North Jackson site is the fourth such delivery station in Ohio.

The building sits on 5.1 acres at the corner of DeBartolo Drive and Commissioner Drive in the park — a far cry from the hundreds of acres Amazon requires for one of its major fulfillment centers, such as the one preparing to open in Euclid near Cleveland.

And, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, Amazon is considering building another distribution hub at the former site of the Rolling Hills Mall.

However, Amazon has expanded its distribution presence across the country to include smaller warehouse and delivery centers that would handle local markets such as Youngstown and Warren.

“They’re making major upgrades and improvements in order to accommodate their needs,” Burdman said.

Tradesman were on site Tuesday working to make improvements.

Investment numbers were not available, nor were the number of jobs that could be created as a result of the project.

The online retail giant is spearheading the improvements to Redstone’s building and site, as both out-of-town and local contractors were busy Tuesday making what appeared to be interior improvements.

Rocky DiGennaro, president of the Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades Council, says there are roughly 30 tradesmen at work renovating the building, which more than a decade ago served as a FedEx distribution and office center.

“The plans say this is going to be for an Amazon project,” DiGennaro said Tuesday. “So far, it’s been good. It’s been a 100% union contract.”

Local contractors such as Dickey Electric and Lencyck Masonry are serving as subcontractors on the project, DiGennaro said.

This week, DiGennaro posted a picture of workers in front of the building on his Facebook page with the caption, “Work continues at the Amazon warehouse project in North Jackson Ohio.”

Heavy equipment was moved onto the site about two months ago to prepare and grade land along DeBartolo Drive on the west side of the property.

On Tuesday, contractors’ trucks were on site as tradesmen were busy performing interior upgrades such as electrical and HVAC work. Most of the earth moving equipment was idle, since much of the parking lot area is now graded and being prepared for an aggregate base.

Two workers that did not want to be identified told The Business Journal they were told this was an Amazon project. “That’s what I understand,” one of the tradesmen said.

Jackson Township Trustee Tom Frost said he does not know who is preparing to lease the building, but the building owners obtained permits to expand the parking lot to accommodate about 100 spaces. A retention and drainage was also added, he said, along DeBartolo Drive.

Once the building is suitable for occupancy, another permit would be required before a tenant could move in.

As of now, there are no immediate plans for expanding the building, Burdman said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect Amazon’s statement.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.