Sources: Amazon buys large piece of land on Grand Island

Grand Island

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two sources tell News 4 that a Western New York developer this week finalized a deal with Amazon for the online retail giant to buy more than 184 acres on Grand Island.

Those sources say the land buy will pave the way for a massive distribution center that has the potential to house thousands of workers.

The sources say when this project comes to fruition, it will be the largest current development in Western New York, and it’s a deal that’s been years in the making.

Both sources said Amazon has inked a deal to buy a plot of land off Long Road near the Holiday Inn Express. The land, about 180 acres, was sold by William Huntress, of Acquest Development.

The plot of land is on the north end of the island, near Navy Island and Buckhorn Island State Park.

Early plans call for a one million-square-foot building – the size of more than 20 football fields – and parking for up to 1,000 trucks. The sources say the building could house as many as 6,000 employees.

Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray declined to answer questions about the news.

“I cannot confirm that at all, we’re talking completely hypothetically, but the reality is, there is land that’s ready for development,” McMurray said. “And I can confirm that there are people that are interested in the land, various parties have looked at the land.”

“What that means from a job perspective. We’re talking about so many jobs, from a tax base perspective and what it means to fund the future of your town versus some of the other concerns that may be involved.”

McMurray did talk about the impact that a project of this scope would have on the island, and about what would be needed before the trucks start rolling over the bridges.

“There will have to be infrastructure changes. There will have to be infrastructure changes to support traffic. We have to look at the bridges. These bridges are old. Very old,” McMurray said.

Sources tell News 4 the new distribution center on Grand Island would be supported by the smaller distribution center already in operation in Lancaster, and a similar facility under construction in the Town of Tonawanda.

This project is still in the early stages, as the land deal was finalized just this week, so there’s still no word on timing, and how or whether it would be affected by the facility in the town of Tonawanda, where construction just got underway.

Dr. Fred Floss, an economics professor at Buffalo State College, joined us on News 4 at 5:30 for analysis.

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