THE BRONX (PIX11) — Amazon keeps expanding it presence in New York City and now the e-commerce giant has set it sights on the northeast Bronx, where it is set to take over an unconventional space.
It used to be the site of the Whitestone Multiplex Cinemas on Bruckner Boulevard. The movie house sat vacant for years after its final flick in 2012. Then, in 2019, two real estate developers bought the theater and adjoining massive lot—transforming them into a state-of-the-art facility.
They revealed that it would be used for e-commerce, but the project remained in limbo until now. Online retail giant Amazon has announced it will be moving in, using the location as a fulfillment center, nearly doubling its presence in the borough.
“The big deal for the Bronx is this brings Amazon’s footprint in the borough to about 1.5 million square feet,” said Michael Brady, chair of the legislative committee for Bronx Chamber of Commerce.
Brady says the lease agreement is a win for the borough’s economy, creating jobs and cementing it as a great place for both small and national retailers to do business. The Bronx tried to woo Amazon during its search for New York City-based headquarters. But the online retailer chose Queens. That deal eventually fell though following fierce backlash over government incentives.
“We put in offers to Amazon saying we can do things over here. We have the people. We have the know how. We have the industrial zoning already; maybe Queens’ loss is our gain,” said Brady.
Still, not everyone sees Amazon’s latest Bronx acquisition as a gain. Local Community Board member Henry Palayo says having the additional delivery trucks will make congestion in the area worse.
“Right now I feel yes and no. It’s good for the community, but the traffic is horrible. So you have to take that into consideration,” said Pelayo.
The facility has been outfitted with solar panels and is equipped with drone technology, should that become a possible mode of delivery in the future. And another national name, Home Depot, will also be taking some space at the former theater site.
Smitha Rao, a spokeswoman for Amazon, said that there is no word yet on the number of jobs that will be created.
“Amazon did sign as a tenant for this location. While we don’t have a launch timeline yet, we’re excited to grow in the Bronx, as we continue to deliver for our NYC customers,” added Rao.
Members of the community board say one way to alleviate the traffic is to add a ramp, so that people who live and work in the area don’t have to compete with all those Amazon delivery trucks.