Internet retail giant Amazon is eyeing a Rensselaer County site to build a fulfillment center.
It was revealed Monday night at a town planning board meeting that the tenant of a warehouse and distribution center proposed for the Town of Schodack is none other than Amazon. Nadine Fuda is the town's Director of Planning and Zoning. "Scannell properties is the developer of the property. We received their application for site plan review on 3/19/2018. They are in a PD3 zone, so it's a commercially zoned site. Sales distributions are permitted in that zone. They're in the planning process, we've gone through a few meetings, we acctually had two meetings with public hearings."
Fuda says more than 100 people showed up Monday night. "It was a split room. There were several 'for' and several 'against.'"
Amazon representative Eric Murray told WNYT that more than 800 full-time jobs would be available. "This will be a long term commitment from Amazon, a long term commitment from Scannell, and we look forward to being partners in this community. We'd work with local workforce development boards to make sure we find the best and brightest in the community.”
Fuda notes that most of the negative responses at the meeting came from townsfolk who own land adjoining the 116-acre plot in question, located between Route 9 and I-90. She says the public hearing period has concluded. "We do have written comment for 10 days left open. Our next meeting is July 2nd. At this point I believe they will be on the agenda."
The town's engineer is working on studies. The facility would mean heavy industrial-grade traffic: tractor-trailer rigs some residents worry might trigger congestion along Route 9. Fuda says "I think we have one other agency to hear back from, that's DOT on the traffic. They have to look at all the impacts of the Route 9 and 9 & 20 split and give us a decision on what they feel the impact on the roads will be and then we'll move forward."
How long that will take is to be determined.
Ted Potrikus, President and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, says Thursday's Supreme Court decision ruling that states will be able to force shoppers to pay sales tax when they make online purchases won't have any effect on the Schodack proposal. "Amazon has been collecting sales tax on purchases shipped into New York since 2008, as have a number of companies."
Potrikus characterizes the ruling as a huge win for brick and mortar retail when it comes to a business selling something through a third party in New York. "In the last couple of years the governor has proposed, the retailers have supported, but the legislature has rejected a plan that would have required the host of that third party sales mechanism to collect the sales tax on behalf of those smaller businesses. The Amazon Marketplace. E-bay. Etsy. Places like that."
Amazon already operates dozens of warehouses nationwide. Schodack is also home to a Hannaford supermarket distribution center.