Amazon to Open Huge Warehouse in Principio Park; 700 Jobs Expected in Cecil County

January 14, 2017

“Alexa, bring 700 jobs to Cecil County, ASAP.”—Cecil County government

“Of course. My Pleasure.”—Amazon Echo’s “Alexa” virtual assistant

Online retailer Amazon will open a $90 million mega-warehouse, employing up to 700 full-time workers, in the Principio Business Park off Route 40 near Perryville. State loan/grants of over $1.2 million and a Cecil County government contribution of $120,000 drawn from casino revenues will assist the project.

The Baltimore Business Journal first identified Amazon as the tenant of the planned 1 million square feet distribution center in its Friday editions. Since all parties to the transaction had signed confidentiality agreements, the transaction had been shrouded in secrecy, even as a resolution was introduced into the Cecil County Council on Tuesday 1/3/17 to endorse a state loan for the project and to commit county aid to it. In documents submitted to the Council, the project was referred to as “Project Iron.”

However, CECIL TIMES has since verified the identity of the new warehouse tenant as Amazon with several sources. A public disclosure of Amazon’s project is expected to be made on Tuesday, 1/17/17 when the Council is slated to vote on the resolution at its evening meeting.

Members of the County Council were briefed on the project on 1/3/17, in a closed-door session that was also attended by County Executive Alan McCarthy and new county director of Economic Development Christopher Moyer.

Like one of Amazon’s “lightening deals” that offer bargains for savvy shoppers who snatch up online deals quickly, the new warehouse and distribution center is coming about after a speculative real estate venture—“build it and they will come”—launched just last spring between the internationally known real estate developer Trammel Crow Company and Diamond Realty Investments. A New York City investment company, PCCO LLC, announced in May, 2016 that it was financing the “speculative development” by the two firms on a 96-acre site within the Principio Business Park.

The financier said loans for the project would enable the developers to build a 1.1 million square foot warehouse/distribution center with 216 loading docks, as well as 283 parking spots for tractor/trailers and parking spaces for 486 cars.

The operation will be located within the over 1,000 acre Principio Business Park, owned by the Stewart Companies, and will join other well- known companies such as Restoration Hardware that have established warehouse operations in the area. Another newcomer to the park is Lidl, a German grocer that is building a regional distribution center that is expected to bring 100 jobs to the county. Lidl is also planning to open a retail grocery store along Route 40 near the Delaware line.

The new Amazon warehouse will be the company’s second in Maryland, after opening a huge facility in southeast Baltimore, near Interstate 95 on a former auto assembly plant site several years ago. (While an economic development coup for the city, the establishment of a physical business “presence” in Maryland meant that online shoppers living in the state suddenly had to pay state sales taxes on their Amazon purchases.)

Some Cecil County residents are already working for Amazon in nearby Delaware, where the company operates two large warehousing operations in New Castle and in Middletown.

The Cecil County project will benefit from a state “conditional loan” program, which converts a loan into an outright grant that does not have to be repaid if certain conditions are met, such as total investment and job creation numbers. Maryland will provide $1.2 million through the Maryland Economic Development and Assistance and Authority Fund. That program requires the county government to provide additional aid amounting to 10 percent of the state loan/grant, and Cecil County will tap revenues it receives from the Hollywood Casino in Perryville to provide $120,000 to the Amazon project.

In the veiled discussions of the project at their worksession, several County Council members emphasized that the county’s share will not come from local taxpayers, but from revenues produced by gamblers at the casino.

The agreement provides that 700 full-time, permanent employee jobs are to be created at the site by 12/31/2020. Basic warehouse jobs are expected to pay $12 to $14 an hour, sources said, while positions requiring more advanced skills would pay more.

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3 Responses to Amazon to Open Huge Warehouse in Principio Park; 700 Jobs Expected in Cecil County

  1. scott carlson on January 14, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    I hope it is true about 700 FULL TIME jobs. I’ve heard most Amazon jobs are revolving doors, they fire people before they get full time.

  2. Deborah on January 17, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    I can’t wait!! I launched the Fulfillment Center in Middletown, DE in 2012 and then I launched the Fulfillment Center in Baltimore, MD in 2015. I am a Cecil County resident, so I would love to bring my 5 years of Amazon experience back to my home county and launch this new center, too. I am tired of the long commute from Elkton to Baltimore every day.

  3. Scott Natte on May 1, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    What? Perfect ugly building for the highway 40 corridor that fits right in with the auto salvage yards and miles of Unkempt properties! Low income pay.Not much improvement. Well, except more money to the government, for what? How much incentive did the county give? How much will this lower property values? Cecil County is just a dump all area between the river and the DE line!

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