The Graham site is the latest in a flurry of Amazon activity this year in North Carolina.
In May, Amazon announced two sites. The company said that it would invest $100 million to build a 620,000-square-foot distribution and fulfillment center in Smithfield, east of Raleigh, by 2022. The estimate of employment was put at 500 jobs paying at least $15 per hour.
According to news reports, local incentives of $1.9 million were offered to the company, but no state incentives were provided.
That was the same wage announced the week previously about a “delivery station” that Amazon announced to be built in Fayetteville.
In April, Amazon made an announcement of triple locations in the metropolitan Charlotte area: a new fulfillment center and two delivery stations. All three were described as offering $15 per hour as the starting wage.
Traditionally, the term “distribution center” connoted a large warehouse where products are kept to be assembled for subsequent distribution, typically to retail stores.
Existing distribution centers near the new Amazon site, along Senator Ralph Scott Parkway, for both Walmart and Lidl are in this format, with the outgoing 18-wheelers typically headed to Walmart retail stores and Lidl’s new grocery stores, respectively.
Inasmuch as Amazon has not traditionally had many actual store fronts, however, the company’s delivery has typically been directly to customers. (Amazon has opened two retail stores in North Carolina within the past year, in Raleigh and Charlotte.)
But in a variation from the “distribution” or “fulfillment” centers, the new “delivery stations” are described in trade publications and Amazon’s own literature as offering “last-mile logistics” (or delivery capability), where (already-packed) packages are assembled and prepared for delivery by the ubiquitous Amazon vans (referred to by Amazon as its “box trucks”).
Under the Amazon system, packages are transported from Amazon’s fulfillment centers to the delivery stations – which are described as smaller than the million-plus square feet typical for its distribution or fulfillment center. Earlier this year, Amazon indicated that it had more than 250 delivery stations in the U.S.
For instance, Amazon opened “delivery stations” in both Durham and Cary last year, and its massive (2.6 million-square-foot) fulfillment center in Garner also opened last year.
According to one trade publication article in 2020, Amazon’s plans for expansion over the coming years include 1,000 more of the delivery-station format, also referred to by the company as “last-mile hubs.”