New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Official: Amazon eyes Branford for distribution center
BRANFORD — Amazon is considering building a distribution center in town, First Selectman James Cosgrove said Friday.
Officials presented the preliminary idea for the property off Exit 53 of Interstate 95 during this week’s Branford Economic Development Commission meeting.
The property, vacant for nearly two decades and directly across from Walmart, would house a 98,000-square-foot distribution center for Amazon and would be staffed by about 100 employees.
The formal application process has not yet begun, but could start in October.
“This kind of cleans up the area,” said Perry Maresca, chairman of the Branford Economic Development Commission. “It’s positive, positive, positive. It think it’s huge improvement for a property in town that has been in need of development and useful purpose for the town. It’s tax base and jobs is what this is all about and it brings us both.”
Cosgrove said the distribution center would not only offer the town economic benefits, but would correct some environmental issues with the vacant site.
“It’s been stagnant for a number of years,” Cosgrove said of the property, where a fire occurred nearly two decades ago. He noted the project would address some stormwater runoff issues and help with stormwater control “that currently does not exist on that site.”
The area has “impervious” surfaces with broken pavement and remnants of concrete buildings.
“There’s a lot of positives associated with this,” Cosgrove said of the plan.
In addition, the distribution center would have less of an impact on traffic than a retail development, which the town had approved a few years ago for the location, he said.
The Amazon proposal does not negatively affect the town’s long term plan to reconfigure the Exit 53 area, which does not have a northbound entrance, nor southbound exit ramp, Cosgrove added.
Previous traffic studies show “this area could support this type of industry,” Cosgrove said. Although, he added, additional traffic analysis will need to be done as the proposal goes before town boards and commissions.
The distribution center will have a “far less intensive” effect on traffic than retail space.
“First, just the nature of the business — how the industry operates — there are far less vehicles going in,” he said.
“You don’t have the frequent going in and out as you do in a retail environment. People will be going to work their shift and they’re there for their shift,” Cosgrove said.
As far as delivery vehicles coming and going, Cosgrove said, “There’s probably only about 12 tractor-trailer trucks a day” plus the 150 delivery vans.
The vans, however, he stressed, will have minimal impact on traffic as they do not go out during peak traffic hours.
“The Amazon model is to send those out in waves and don’t conflict with peak travel times,” he said.
The vans would avoid the morning and evening rush hours and be sent out during different times, he said.