By DAVID LYONS
Amazon, the e-commerce giant, now wants to install one of its massive fulfillment centers in western Sunrise — adding to a burgeoning lineup of sites across South Florida to speed up service to thousands of customers.
The fulfillment center, which would employ 1,000 full-time staffers, would be Amazon’s fourth in South Florida and will service orders from cities across the country, Amazon said Tuesday.
The first opened in Opa-locka in 2019 in northern Miami Dade County. Two others are under construction in Homestead and western Palm Beach County. When all is said and done, South Florida could become one of the most heavily concentrated areas of e-commerce delivery and fulfillment sites in the state.
But many neighbors aren’t happy. The Sunrise site is a vacant, hard-scrabble stretch of unoccupied land west of Hiatus Road, south of 50th Street and north of 44th Street, but it’s adjacent to several neighborhoods that could see increased truck traffic as well as more cars driven by Amazon employees going to and from work.
Last Thursday, Amazon and developer Foundry Commercial of Orlando conducted one of several neighborhood meetings held since January to explain the project. Many of the more than 100 people who attended online and in person weren’t happy about its size and the prospects for more traffic in an area that’s not far from the Sawgrass Mills mall and the BB&T Center, home of the Florida Panthers professional hockey team.
Persuading the neighbors
Company representatives stressed that trucks would be allowed to enter and exit the property only on the north side of the building off 50th Street. They would not be allowed to travel on residential intensive 44th Street on the south, or along Hiatus to the east.
“All of the trucks would come in and out of 50th Street,” said Dennis Mele, partner and chair of the land use and zoning group at the Greenspoon Marder law firm, which represents Amazon.
Under an agreement between Amazon and the city, truckers who go astray would be identified by strategically placed cameras and would be ticketed if they travel on a forbidden street.
“If the trucker gets the ticket, he’ll have to pay,” Mele said.
The fulfillment centers are larger and different than smaller “last-mile” delivery centers that occupy other South Florida neighborhoods. They’re heavily automated and house large inventories of electronics, household goods, books, toys and other products the company’s customers order online.
Only bigger trucks that deliver goods to and from the facility would operate at the Sunrise center. The ubiquitous gray Amazon vans that deliver products to homes operate out of the smaller “last-mile” delivery stations that are located elsewhere.
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