NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Tuesday night, Amazon met with Niagara Town Board members at a workshop to discuss the new mega-distribution facility planned for Lockport Road.
Project leaders from Amazon, Phillips Lytle LLP, JB2 Parnters, LLC, Langan Engineering and SRF Associates presented to the board members. This is similar to the presentations they made previously with the Niagara County Planning Board and Zoning Board.
Initial planning stages are in the works for a giant new distribution facility at 8995 Lockport Rd. in the Town of Niagara. This warehouse will be a first mile facility, meaning it will primarily serve local residents who buy products from the company.
“If you’re buying your annual Bills gear, it’s going to be stored in a facility like this close by,” Amazon Economic Development Manager Maura Kennedy said.
Niagara County officials confirmed the e-commerce giant was coming to Niagara County, after months of going by the moniker Project FiFi. The project cleared the County Planning Board last month.
The proposal will create jobs both at Amazon and during the construction process.
“We’re really looking to bring economic opportunity to the jurisdiction through this investment. We’re looking to create 1,000 full time positions. All [of them] on average make $18 or more per hour,” Kennedy added.
One main concern from the Town Board members and residents is traffic. The site has three entrances off of Lockport Road. Almost 500 trucks will enter and exit the facility over the course of 24 hours, seven days per week. There is also an exit on Tuscarora Road for passenger vehicles. An initial traffic assessment was completed by SRF Associates, which concluded that peak hours for the facility do not interrupt prime commuting times at the main intersections.
“They have shifts that occur in the morning and in the evening. Those shift times don’t overlap with the intersection peak hours,” Amy Dake, senior managing traffic engineer at SRF Associates, said.
Some suggestions included making adjustments to Interstate 190 to accommodate more traffic. Additionally, the Board wants to learn more about the economics and how the facility will generate money for the town.
“Typically a facility of this size is going to generate significantly more in tax revenue than it will in cost to the town,” Kim Mason, partner at Phillips Lytle LLP, continued.
Local officials were mostly optimistic, saying they want the project to go through, from what they have seen so far.
“We are a little guarded because we are concerned about our constituents, but I can’t say a negative about anything so far. I think you guys did your homework before you even brought us a presentation,” Deputy Supervisor Charles Teixeira said.
The next steps will come in May when the project goes before the Town, Zoning and Planning Boards again. There will also be a public comment period before a final vote.
The company was already planning to call Western New York home, but that project fell apart when residents on Grand Island pushed back in 2020. In the same year, Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace sent a letter, saying his town was “fully on board and committed to assist in bringing this great project to Niagara County.”
The facility will be four stories, more than 3 million square-feet, built on a 216-acre plot and will feature 55 loading docks, 414 trailer parking stalls, 1,755 parking stalls and two guard buildings. This will cover 7% of the property, according to the application by JB2 Partners, LLC., and 105 acres will be left untouched.
The Town of Niagara posted several of the planning documents on their website. Meeting minutes from the March Planning Board meeting can be found here.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.