Liverpool, N.Y. — A proposed distribution center with 1,000 jobs in Clay would have more floor space than any other warehouse in the world except for one.
Who could possibly need that much space? Amazon is a very good bet, some experts say.
Trammell Crow Co. wants to build the $280 million distribution center on 111 acres of land occupied by the Liverpool Public Golf and Country Club on Morgan Road, Onondaga County officials said this week.
The building would have a ground-floor footprint of 820,000 square feet, which is plenty big by itself. But it would have a mezzanine level and four floors above that, giving the structure nearly 3.8 million square feet of distribution and warehouse space.
Put another way, its floor space would equal that of 14 Carrier Domes.
Only the 4.3-million-square foot Boeing factory warehouse in Everett, Washington, has more floor space, according to several business listings.
Trammell has not said who would use the facility, but the company has given a strong hint. It would be leased to an e-commerce or retail company “to facilitate and augment the future tenant’s logistics network,” the company said in an application for $65 million in tax breaks.
It “could only be one company — Amazon,” said Marc Wulfraat, president of MWPVL International, a Montreal global supply chain and logistics consulting firm.
The world’s biggest online retailer has been rumored to want to open a fulfillment center along the Interstate 90 corridor that could serve an area from Buffalo to Syracuse and possibly as far east as Albany, he said.
Syracuse, in the middle of that corridor, would be a logical choice, he said. The site is just 1 mile from state Thruway (I-90) exit 38.
“It may be the best place to service the northern New York corridor,” Wulfraat said.
Amazon’s only other fulfillment center in New York state is an 855,000-square-foot facility on Staten Island, about 256 miles away.
Amazon has proposed a distribution center in Schodack, 10 miles south of Albany, but neighbors opposed to the project have filed a lawsuit to try to stop it.
The size of the facility outlined in the application to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency is staggering. It would:
- Have up to 90 loading docks.
- Cover 90 acres of the golf course’s 111 acres of land.
- Have parking for 200 tractor trailers, 1,800 cars and 15 motorcycles.
After the Boeing warehouse, the world’s second largest warehouse is the 2.6-million-square-foot John Deere factory parts warehouse in Milan, Illinois, according to Cargo Market.
The facility proposed six miles north of Syracuse would store 15 million products and would be highly automated, with robots doing most of the running around, collecting products from bins and bringing them to the facility’s human workers, Wulfraat said.
Trammell said the facility would employ 1,000 people, with the vast majority paying $30,000 a year. But Wulfraat said it likely would eventually employ about 1,500.
The company has a relationship with Amazon. In April 2014, it completed construction on a 1.25-million-square-foot fulfillment center for Amazon in Moreno Valley, California. Its floor space totals 1.5 million square feet when a 260,000-square-foot mezzanine is included.
Dallas-based Trammell has told county officials that it will not identify the tenant until it is ready to start construction in the spring of 2020. The company did not respond to a request from Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard for comment Wednesday. Amazon also did not respond to a request for comment.
Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a group that tracks and opposes corporate tax breaks around the country, said he also believes the tenant is likely Amazon.
“A project that big certainly sounds like Amazon,” he said. “Walmart and Target build big distribution centers, too, but they don’t build that many of them.”
Patrick Penfield, a professor of supply chain practice at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, is not so sure it will be Amazon. He said Amazon’s centers typically are 1 million to 1.6 million square feet, considerably smaller than the building proposed near Liverpool.
“That footprint just throws me off,” he said.