Amazon fulfillment center in Johnston delayed, again

Updated at 4:55 p.m.

THE AMAZON FULFILLMENT CENTER under construction at 2120 Hartford Ave. in Johnston has been delayed again. / COURTESY NEW ENGLAND AERIAL SERVICES/ TREVOR BRYAN

JOHNSTON – Construction of the 3.8 million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center is being delayed once again.

A message posted Wednesday on the R.I. Commerce Corp. Facebook page, showing Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner touring the facility stated it is “expected to open next year,” months beyond the earlier projections. The target day for completion of the facility on land off Route 6 was initially April 2023 but was pushed forward to August 2023, with officials citing supply chain snags and inflation.

Amazon spokesperson Caitlin McLaughlin confirmed the company has now extended the timeline to 2024, citing industrywide “macroeconomic pressure.”

Amazon has spent close to $300 million to date on the project and remains committed to its investment in Johnston, said McLaughlin, calling the fulfillment center “a significant part of our future plans in New England.”

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“Construction inside and outside of the facility is ongoing and on track for a 2024 launch,” she said. “We appreciate the partnership with the Town of Johnston and the state of Rhode Island and look forward to working with them to hire more than 1,000 employees.”

The Johnston Town Council approved 20-year tax stabilization agreement in 2021, projected to provide the town with $145 million in annual tax revenue over the course of the agreement, which starts with a $5.7 million payment by Amazon to the town during the first year of operations and rises to $9.1 million 20 years later.

The deal also includes over $6 million in municipal infrastructure upgrades over 10 years.

Amazon has said the new fulfillment center will  create more than 1,000 new permanent jobs and 1,500 construction jobs. The company purchased 196 acres of private land in Johnston valued at nearly $13 million in 2021.

Johnston Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Jr. on Wednesday said his office has confirmed with Amazon it now plans to open the center in 2024 and reiterated his support for the project and the jobs it can bring.

“While this project is fully funded and managed by Amazon, the town stands ready to help Amazon if called upon,” he said.

(UPDATED throughout with minor edits and to add comment from Amazon.)

Christopher Allen is a PBN staff writer. You may contact him at Allen@PBN.com.

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