August 9, 2013
Deal Watch Today

Amazon eyeing Windsor for fulfillment center

Contributed Photo
Contributed Photo
An Amazon fulfillment center, similar to one planned for Windsor.

Amazon.com is coming – to Windsor.

The online retail-sales giant wants a 1.5 million-square-foot fulfillment center at 801 Day Hill Road, abutting the Bloomfield town line, papers filed with Windsor's planning department reveal. It would likely employ hundreds.

Amazon's name doesn't appear anywhere in documents on file with the Windsor town planner. However, sprinkled liberally throughout documents and mylars is the New York private equity firm KTR Capital Partners, which has developed -- or plans to -- several such sites in other states for Amazon.

According to documents HartfordBusiness.com reviewed Friday, the huge facility would rest on 89.5 acres and have parking for up to 900 vehicles. The parking would accommodate workers overlapping on day and evening shifts at certain times of the year. Neither Amazon nor its development partners indicate in those papers the number of Windsor workers it would need.

No pricetag for erecting and outfitting the structure was disclosed, but Amazon facilities of a similar size and scale have been pegged at $150 million to $200 million.

Amazon's planned Windsor site is in line with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's announcement in February that the Seattle company planned to invest $50 million in a brick-and-mortar site somewhere in the state. No further details were revealed then.

Amazon also announced then that on Nov. 1 it will start collecting sales tax revenue from online shoppers in Connecticut, ending years of contentious debate on the matter.

Amazon recently aired plans to add another 5,000 full-time workers to its fulfillment centers nationwide.

Jeff Zygler, KTR Capital's vice president of development, said Friday that his company and Amazon representatives met Thursday night with commercial and residential neighbors in and around Day Hill to discuss Amazon's building plans.

Zygler said it is way too early in the process to talk about a construction start or completion date, number of hires, or other particulars about Amazon's potential Connecticut operations. He deferred further questions to Amazon.

Zygler also said that while Windsor is shaping up as "the preferred site" for Amazon, there are "other opportunities'' for a fulfillment location. He declined to elaborate.

Amazon didn't immediately return a call Friday for comment. Hartford law firm Robinson & Cole, a legal adviser to the development, didn't answer calls for comment.

Griffin Land & Nurseries, which owns at least 166 acres of former tobacco land from which the Amazon parcel would be carved, also didn't respond to hails.

The proposed Windsor facility is very early into the planning phase. KTR Capital and Griffin have formally applied to the town for approval to subdivide its master tract into three parcels, one of which would go to KTR to build Amazon's newest regional distribution center, papers show.

Windsor Town Planner Eric Barz declined comment Friday on whether Amazon will be the tenant. The governor's office didn't immediately respond with comment.

However, the papers filed hold clues that point to Amazon.

KTR Capital Partners is the same developer who acquired several parcels on which it built a 1.2 million-square-foot fulfillment facility it leases to Amazon in Jeffersonville, Ind. That $150 million facility opened with between 1,200 and 1,500 jobs last October, in time for holiday sales rush, according to BizJournals.com.

In January, KTR and Amazon announced plans for a 1 million-square-foot, $200 million center in New Jersey, due to open next year.

The Windsor filing says the facility would be designed to function similar to several other prototype fulfillment facilities operating in South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. At those sites, trucks only leave once they are fully loaded with boxed goods, to minimize the flow of vehicle traffic to and from them.

Several of Amazon's newest fulfillment centers are in Chester, Va.; South Carolina and Tennessee. Its nearest New England facility is in Nashua, N.H.; the nearest Northeast site is in New Jersey.

In addition, Ford & Associates Architects, of Columbus, Ohio, which designed the Indiana facility, is listed in Windsor town papers as architect for the Day Hill Road center, identified only as "Project Francisco.''

A planning hearing on the subdivision application is set for Sept. 10.

The addition of Amazon would add to Windsor's reputation as a logistics epicenter for the transshipment of consumer, commercial and industrial goods throughout the Connecticut and the Northeast.

The proximity of the town, particularly Day Hill Road, to major interstates and Bradley International Airport over the years has made it a desirable habitat for manufacturers, distributors and service providers of all stripes.

Amazon's facility also would be in the shadow of the proposed Great Pond mixed-use development, which envisions office, commercial and apartment dwellers and homeowners nestled together in a village-like enclave.

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