Amazon Plans Massive Fulfillment Center, Raises Concerns Over Traffic

Fulfillment Center to Boost South Florida Delivery Network

Amazon, the renowned e-commerce giant, has announced its intention to construct a large-scale fulfillment center in western Sunrise, further expanding its presence across South Florida. This facility aims to accelerate service to thousands of customers in the region. Amazon’s fourth fulfillment center in South Florida, this location will cater to orders from cities all over the country.

Neighbors Worried About Increased Traffic

While the proposed fulfillment center is set to employ around 1,000 full-time staff members, many nearby residents have expressed concerns about the impact on traffic in their area. The site in Sunrise is situated adjacent to various neighborhoods, which could potentially experience a surge in truck traffic as well as an increase in the number of Amazon employees commuting to and from work.

Addressing Local Concerns

To address the concerns of the community, Amazon and developer Foundry Commercial of Orlando have conducted multiple neighborhood meetings since January. During these meetings, many attendees voiced their dissatisfaction with the size of the facility and the potential for traffic congestion. Amazon and its representatives emphasized that truck access to the property would be restricted to the north side of the building off 50th Street. Trucks would not be permitted to drive on residential intensive 44th Street or Hiatus Road.

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Demonstrating Commitment to being a Good Neighbor

Amazon has been proactive in assuaging concerns and has assured the public of its commitment to being a good neighbor. The company plans to install strategically placed cameras to identify any trucks that deviate from authorized routes and would subsequently issue tickets to offending drivers. Furthermore, Amazon has pledged to erect berms, plant trees, and implement other landscaping measures to obscure the view of the building from surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, outdoor lighting will be positioned to prevent illumination beyond the Amazon property.

Amazon fulfillment center
A proposed Amazon fulfillment center in western Sunrise, employing up to 1,000 people. Dubbed “Project Lion,” this facility will enhance Amazon’s e-commerce customer service network.

“We are certainly committed to being good neighbors,” stated Jessica Breaux, an Amazon manager of economic development. She revealed that Amazon has recently made generous donations totaling $500,000 to the United Ways of Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Adjustments in Response to Public Input

In response to public meetings held in January, Amazon has made several amendments to the original plan for the fulfillment center. Noteworthy changes include relocating the building 175 feet farther from residential areas, implementing traffic calming measures on 44th Street, enhancing landscaping with a 20-foot-tall berm and sound wall, constructing a 38-acre lake and a linear park, and designating a wetland mitigation area. Furthermore, truck routes have been adjusted to ensure minimal impact on neighboring residents, and employee schedules have been modified to avoid peak traffic hours and school drop-off/pick-up times.

Considering Various Factors

During the recent neighborhood meeting, one attendee questioned why Amazon specifically chose the Sunrise area for its fulfillment center. Dennis Mele, partner and chair of the land use and zoning group at the Greenspoon Marder law firm, which represents Amazon, responded by highlighting the rarity of finding available 128-acre industrial sites. Amazon further explained that their site selection process takes into consideration factors such as an abundant local talent pool and the need to be in close proximity to customers in order to offer efficient Prime service and swift shipping speeds.

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It’s worth noting that the Sunrise location is not a substitute for the previously sought-after 61-acre county-owned land near U.S. 27 and Sheridan Street in Pembroke Pines, which was ultimately awarded to a different company.

Potential Job Opportunities and Economic Boost

Amazon has stated its commitment to providing job opportunities to Sunrise residents and plans to collaborate closely with the city to make this a reality. According to David Coddington, senior vice president of business development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the fulfillment center could potentially help re-employ individuals affected by layoffs in the leisure and hospitality industry, which has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of December, Broward County’s unemployment rate stood at 6.6%, while Palm Beach County’s rate was 5.5%. It is estimated that all of Amazon’s locations in the tri-county area could employ more than 5,000 people.

Proposed location of the Amazon fulfillment center
Proposed location of an Amazon fulfillment center in Sunrise, referred to as “Project Lion.”

Expanding Reach Across Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Amazon’s expansion plans in Broward and Palm Beach counties span various locations, including a recently opened distribution center in Boca Raton. Construction is currently underway for a one-million-square-foot facility, equivalent to the size of the Palm Beach Gardens mall, in an unincorporated area west of Jupiter in Palm Beach County. Additionally, two warehouses are being converted into a delivery station in western Pompano Beach to expedite retail product delivery to customers.

The development application for the Sunrise fulfillment center has not yet been formally reviewed by the city. The city has posted videos of the neighborhood meetings held in January and on February 11 on its official website. No hearing dates have been scheduled as of now.

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