Even though Connecticut is no longer in the running for the home of Amazon’s second North American Headquarters, the online retail giant is still expanding its presence and workforce in the state.
In June, Amazon announced its plans to build a new fulfillment center on a property in North Haven vacated by Pratt and Whitney. The new location will be the third Amazon facility in the state, joining the others in Windsor and Wallingford.
"The image of Amazon coming with such a large distribution facility I think benefits North Haven, benefits the region and certainly benefits the state," North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda said.
After NBC Connecticut broke the news, DroneRanger captured exclusive aerials of where Amazon is building the new 855,000 square foot fulfillment center.
"Any jobs that can be added to our local area would be great," Katie Larsen from Wallingford said.
Amazon will hire 1,800 people at first, Freda told NBC Connecticut, but the number of jobs could expand to 3,000.
"The lines are out the door people looking to apply for these jobs," Freda said."Because it’s a fairly competitive hourly rate, but there’s a 401K program and there’s also a tuition reimbursement, which is really significant."
A majority of the 20 finalists for Amazon HQ2, including New York and Boston, are on the eastern half of the country.
"We knew from the beginning that this was an uphill climb," Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith said in a statement. "That scale could be an issue, so it is not surprising that Amazon opted for much larger communities."
In addition to the state-supported bids by Hartford and Stamford, New Haven and Bridgeport submitted a joint application for the Amazon HQ2. The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reported that the state and cities spent tens of thousands of dollars in trying to lure Amazon to Connecticut.
"We learned a lot about ourselves, about this expanded region," New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said. "And we’re going to take that to other companies and we believe that we’re going to be able to attract some major companies to this area."
With the new North Haven fulfillment center expected to be up and running around May 2019, Amazon’s total workforce in the state is expected to rise to about 3,800 employees. Construction is expected to begin in the next few days, Freda said.
"If we don’t have the top one that’s OK," Wendy Forbes of North Haven said. "We still have one here in town that’s going to present quite a few jobs."
Amazon plans to announce the location of its HQ2 sometime this year.