Amazon signed two leases for over 487,000 square feet of Red Hook warehouse space this week, further expanding its fast-growing footprint in Brooklyn and around the city.
The company announced on Wednesday that it will open a 336,350-square-foot delivery station at 640 Columbia Street, and another 151,000-square-foot station at 280 Richards Street. Both sites are in Red Hook and are set to open next year, Crain’s New York reported.
Amazon had previously announced a separate 311,796-square-foot lease at 280 Richards, which is owned by Thor Equities, in November. The single-story warehouse is now 100% leased to Amazon. The three-story 640 Columbia Street building is co-owned by Goldman Sachs and DH Property Holdings.
A separate 211,000-square-foot delivery station at 2300 Linden Boulevard in East New York is already open. The company says the East New York facility will support about 80 full and part-time associate jobs.
Amazon’s leasing spree extends beyond Brooklyn, propping up the city’s industrial real estate market in an otherwise challenging year. Other leases include large amounts of warehouse space in Hunts Point in the Bronx, Middle Village in Queens and Staten Island’s Matrix Global Logistics Park. The company also purchased the Lord & Taylor Building in midtown Manhattan for about $1 billion last year.
But the expansion in Red Hook of so-called “last-mile” distribution centers, from which merchandise is loaded onto delivery vehicles that fan out into the city’s neighborhoods, has brought concerns about never-ending truck traffic. Already, residents have complained about the noise from 18-wheelers that use Van Brunt Street as an alternative to traffic-clogged Hamilton Avenue.
Brooklyn Community Board 6, which includes Red Hook, has repeatedly requested that the city’s Department of Transportation conduct a comprehensive traffic study of the area, in order to identify ways to prevent truck traffic from overwhelming neighborhood streets.
“This concern is not limited to worries about safety, pollution and noise from dozens of tractor-trailer and hundreds of van trips each and every day, but extends to preservation of the neighborhood’s historic character,” the board wrote in a recent letter to newly-installed DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman, citing the desire of some community members to preserve the neighborhood’s historic cobblestone streets.
DOT has also been working on a Smart Truck Management Plan that it says will “improve our understanding of truck route usage and compliance, movement of goods, needs of shoppers and receivers, and community concerns.” The agency then plans to use that information to implement actions to improve truck operations and “enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for all New Yorkers.” But so far, that plan has not been released.
All the new warehouses and delivery facilities will “inevitably lead to an influx in trucks,” CB6 District Manager Mike Racioppo told Bklyner. “We need to DOT to conduct a comprehensive study that can study the potential impact of all the potential development.”
“Without it,” he said, “such developments may be looked at in isolation, and without the context a study can give, it’s unlikely, or at the very least much more difficult, proper planning decisions can be made.”
A DOT spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.