Amazon plans to build a 142,000-square-foot distribution center at Pender Commerce Park, local economic development officials announced Thursday.
The center is expected to create more than 100 full-time jobs, with starting wages of $15 an hour and benefits, according to a news release from Wilmington Business Development.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo hinted at the possibility of even more investment from the e-commerce giant. When asked to comment about the Pender announcement during an event Thursday, Saffo described a potentially larger project.
“The Amazon deal … part of it is going to be in Pender County; part of it will be in New Hanover,” he said during a Cape Fear CREW lunch where he was the guest speaker. “That’s a billion-dollar investment, over 1,000 jobs, and I think it’s over a million square feet … That will be a regional distribution center for all of Southeastern North Carolina.”
Saffo later on Thursday clarified that he misunderstood the question at the luncheon and expressed his hope that this would spur more economic development and job creation in the area, but the details of any future investment have not been shared with him at this time.
WBD officials said they had no comment about the mayor’s earlier remarks.
The announced facility, an Amazon delivery station on 40 acres at the industrial park, would be complete in 2023, said officials from Wilmington Business Development, which represents New Hanover and Pender counties.
Amazon’s delivery stations are different than the company’s fulfillment centers.
“Delivery Stations power the last mile of Amazon’s order process and help speed up deliveries for customers. Packages are shipped to a Delivery Station from neighboring Amazon Fulfillment and Sortation Centers, loaded into delivery vehicles and delivered to customers,” the news release stated.
Officials said that the delivery station at Pender Commerce Park would create full- and part-time associate jobs as well as “hundreds of driver opportunities for Amazon’s Delivery Service Partners and Amazon Flex drivers.”
“We are excited to continue to invest in the State of North Carolina with a new delivery station that will provide efficient delivery for customers,” Sam Blatt, Amazon’s economic development manager for North Carolina, said in the release. “The region has an excellent, growing workforce that will support the success of this important new facility.”
Pender Commerce Park, more than 450 acres, already is home to Acme Smoked Fish, FedEx Freight and Empire Distributors.
Funding was recently approved
to tear down a large industrial facility near the commerce park and remediate the property. The Golden Leaf Foundation this year gave Pender County a $500,000 grant for the work at the site of the former BASF vitamin plant.
The reason for the grant and site work was because it had attracted the attention of an unnamed company considering making $400 million in real and personal property investments and creating 1,000 jobs, with an average wage of $31,200, according to the agreement from the Golden Leaf Foundation. Demolition of the structures on the site is required before the property could be sold to the business, the agreement stated.