GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB)–The much-anticipated project that could bring a massive Amazon warehouse to Grand Island experienced a see-saw this week when the developer pressed pause on the deal.
Opponents breathed a sigh of relief, while supporters scrambled. That changed again as the week wore on.
But it was a day earlier this week that looked to potentially sink a project that could change the physical and financial face of Grand Island.
News 4 broke the story about the idea that could bring what’s now known as Project Olive to this plot of land off Long Road near the Holiday Inn Express.
After what town and other local officials describe as a problematic meeting of the town’s planning board, when an attempt was made to vote in opposition to a zone change on the land, the developer pulled back and informed board members the project was on hold.
Town officials, including Grand Island Chamber of Commerce President Eric Fiebelkorn, were relieved to learn it was still moving forward.
“We see it really as a once in a lifetime opportunity financially, and something that’s going to take some time to work out. This is how deals get done. Nothing gets done in a day,” Fiebelkorn said.
The plan calls for a 3.8 million square foot building that would eventually house 1,000 employees for another Amazon distribution hub.
Those are big numbers for the aging infrastructure of Grand Island, particularly the bridges on the north and south ends. But there are other big numbers to consider, Fiebelkorn says.
“With a conservative assessment potentially on the building, it’s going to give the local share 35 million dollars, 25 million of that to the schools, over a 15 year period,” he added.
Former Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray told voters this week Project Olive offers both risk and reward.
And though he says Amazon’s labor relations and the potential environmental impact should be examined more closely, he’s hopeful the town board comes to a supportive conclusion. And that union workers are used to build what could be a five-story center, to decades of future development.