Amazon planning more Cleveland-area expansions

Amazon’s next distribution center for the Greater Cleveland-
Akron-Canton area will be a 220,000-square-foot, nearly 60-
acre delivery station in Boston Heights. The station building
will be oriented north-south as shown on the above diagram
and surrounded by parking for customers, employees and
delivery vehicles. The site is next to State Route 8, the
Ohio Turnpike, a new Arhaus furniture distribution
center and a Costco Wholesale store (Google).
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

E-commerce giant Amazon continues to add distribution facilities to Northeast Ohio and is considering expanding its existing facilities. The result will be hundreds if not thousands of more jobs provided by Amazon as well as by transportation and delivery services, including independent ones.

That’s according to two sources who spoke off the record this week to NEOtrans. The sources were not authorized to speak publicly about the expansions but are directly connected to them. And there’s circumstantial evidence that confirms the projects are for Amazon which doesn’t like to publicize its planned expansions.

The next new Amazon distribution facility will be a 220,780-square-foot delivery station planned near the interchange of the Ohio Route 8 and the Ohio Turnpike in Boston Heights, roughly midway between Cleveland and Akron. Specifically, the site will have its main entrance on Hines Hill Road, across the street from other new big-box structures — an Arhaus furniture warehouse and a Costco Wholesale store.

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Measuring 58 acres, the site is owned by Boston Hills Property Investment LLC which in turn is owned by Broadview Heights-based developer Sam Petros. The site wraps around the Paychex Inc. payroll services office and property. Developing the site will be Pure Development, Inc. of Indianapolis, IN, said Irving B. Sugerman, a partner at Akron-based Brouse McDowell’s real estate and litigation groups.

Sugerman, in representing the developer, made a presentation about the project Nov. 4 to Boston Heights’ Board of Zoning Appeals and its Planning Commission. Three zoning variances and site plans were approved at those meetings.

“We’re proposing a delivery station for an ultimate tenant that specializes in the transport of consumer goods.” Sugerman said. “The project will create several hundred full- and part-time jobs in the village of Boston Heights. All of the employees and associates that we’re going to have there are paid at least $15 an hour with a variety of benefit packages. At this time, about 85 percent of those jobs being full-time.”

Screen capture of a meeting of Boston Heights’ Board of
Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission at which the
proposed Amazon delivery station was approved. There,
developer representative Irving B. Sugerman held up a
site plan for the delivery station so that BZA members
could see which hard copy to look at from among their
paperwork about the planned project (YouTube).

He said the delivery station will also include what Amazon calls its Delivery Service Partners, which are independent contractors who will build their own businesses delivering packages for Amazon. Amazon will not own the facility but will instead be the tenant. It is paying about $40 million to develop the site, Sugerman said.

Most of the site will be developed with parking for customers, employees, trucks and delivery vans. The parking lots will surround the distribution center, with customer and employee parking along Hines Hill Road.

Offices for the delivery station will face Hines Hill. There will be landscaping screening, berms and other buffering around the perimeter of the property, except for the Hines Hill frontage. The buffering will block views of the parking and station from most outside perspectives, said architect Bill Lewis of Richard L. Bowen and Associates of Cleveland.

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Although the tenant was never identified at the village’s meetings, “delivery station” and “Delivery Service Partners” are terms Amazon uses to identify its mid-level distribution facilities and its shipper development program.

Amazon delivery stations will also be the tenants at several new facilities now being developed in Cleveland — one at the Madison Industrial Park in the Cudell neighborhood on the city’s West Side and another at the Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center in Slavic Village on the city’s East Side. NEOtrans broke the news on those developments earlier this year.

Architect Richard L. Bowen and Associates is the architect of the Boston Heights delivery station — as it was for the other Amazon delivery stations in Greater Cleveland. And Pure Development develops many Amazon distribution centers in the Midwest.

In 2018, the 855,000-square-foot Amazon Fulfillment
Center in North Randall was nearing completion. It will
reportedly be expanded in the next year or two, adding to
the facility and the 2,000 jobs already there (AerialAgents).

“The (Boston Heights) site is perfect for this type of facility,” said Sugerman, citing access to nearby State Route 8, Ohio Turnpike and other roads. “It’s also in the vicinity of new and exciting projects that have developed over time in Boston Heights — Costco, Arhaus among others.”

Construction of the Amazon delivery station is due to start in the first quarter of 2021, Sugerman said. A source said that construction on the project will probably be completed in the third quarter of 2021.

The same sources say there are more expansions planned, including a possibly sigificant expansion of the North Randall Fulfillment Center. Fulfillment Centers are the largest type of Amazon’s distribution center and the North Randall facility is the largest one in Greater Cleveland. It opened in 2018 on the site of the former Randall Park Mall.

One of the sources said the 855,000-square-foot North Randall Fulfillment Center, which has 2,000 full-time employees, would be expanded by a “large amount” but added that more details were scant at this time. There is some open space to the south of the existing facility where expansion of it could occur. The rest of the site is hemmed in by streets and parking for employees and delivery vehicles.

It is one of seven Amazon distribution centers existing or planned in the Greater Cleveland-Akron-Canton area, but is only one of two fulfillment centers in Cuyahoga County. The other is an 850,000-square-foot facility in Euclid built on the site of the former Euclid Square Mall for which NEOtrans broke the story in May 2017.

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