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May 28, 2020

Windsor grants key approvals for proposed Amazon distribution facility

An Indiana developer proposing to build Amazon’s second warehouse/distribution center in Windsor has received all local land use approvals for the $50-million project.

Windsor’s planning and zoning commission on Tuesday approved a special use application and site plan for Scannell Properties to build a 823,000-square-foot distribution hub on former tobacco farmland at 1201 Kennedy Road and 1 Joseph Lane. 

The approvals are contingent on a handful of conditions, including that a continuous crosswalk to the distribution facility be installed at River Street and Kennedy Road, and that additional sound barriers are implemented, among other caveats.

Last week, HBJ was first to report that e-commerce giant Amazon, which operates a massive fulfillment center on Old Iron Ore Road, is planning to open a second Windsor location where it expects to add 1,000 new jobs. Amazon, which did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, has not confirmed or denied it intends to occupy the building.

Tuesday’s vote hands two key approvals to Scannell, but town officials say the developer still needs to secure several other town and state approvals before it breaks ground on the 147-acre Amazon development. 

“We will have a pre-construction meeting with the developer and their construction team before site work begins to ensure a smooth process,” said Town Planner Eric Barz, adding that Scannell has “significant site work to perform” before it begins construction.

Photo | Contributed
Scannell Properties is building Amazon's massive distribution center on former tobacco farmland in Windsor, 1201 Kennedy Road.

Meantime, Amazon is seeking a multi-year tax abatement for the development, where it plans to invest at least $200 million to build out the facility on land owned by the Thrall family farm (O.J. Thrall Inc.). Windsor’s economic development commission has recommended that the town council approve the seven-year, 100% tax abatement that would save the company an estimated $4 million to $5 million annually upon completion of the project. 

The town council is expected to discuss the proposed abatement at an upcoming meeting, town officials say.

According to plans, the five-story e-commerce storage and distribution facility would feature 63 loading docks, 1,800 car parking spaces, 16 motorcycle spaces and 206 trailer parking stalls. 

The building’s footprint would be smaller than Amazon’s fulfillment center on Old Iron Ore Road. 

Town records show Amazon is hoping to begin construction on the facility in the third quarter of 2020 before it starts occupying the new space in the third quarter of 2021.

If approved, Amazon would work closely with the town to employ "as many people from the community as possible once the proposed facility is operational,” according to the proposed abatement.

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