9.2.20 – Report on IC Whole Foods distribution center says it’s located in Brooklyn’s “Industry City neighborhood”

As reported by Supermarket News:

Whole Foods Market has opened its first online-only store, located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

Parent company Amazon said the so-called “dark store,” which went into operation yesterday, will fulfill delivery orders only and help Whole Foods better meet rising customer demand for grocery delivery service. The brand-new facility, situated in the borough’s Industry City neighborhood, will serve customers in the Brooklyn area exclusively…

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods hired hundreds of new workers to run the store, including people from within the company. Associates are “100% dedicated” to facilitating grocery delivery, enabling them to quickly receive, shop and prepare orders for delivery to a greater number of customers, Amazon said…

The online-only store comes as Amazon/Whole Foods continues to see a booming online grocery business amid the coronavirus pandemic. For the second quarter ended June 30, online grocery sales tripled versus a year ago, Amazon reported. That has led the Seattle-based e-tail giant to boost its grocery delivery capacity by more than 160% and triple its number of grocery pickup sites.

Amazon also has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand access to online grocery shopping for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps. Amazon said it now reaches beneficiaries in 39 states and the District of Columbia, enabling more than 90% of SNAP households to use their SNAP benefits online.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.6.20, backdated to 9.2.20


9.2.20 – “First online-only Whole Foods ‘store’ opens in Brooklyn”

As reported by 6sqft:

While new Whole Foods stores in New York City typically open to fanfare from lovers of the grocery chain, a new location in Brooklyn won’t get the same in-person hoopla. The first-ever online-only Whole Foods “store” opened in Brooklyn on Tuesday, dedicated exclusively to fulfilling online grocery orders. The new store, which has been in the works for over a year, will not allow any customers inside.

Amazon, which bought the company for over $13 billion in 2017, said the fulfillment center will open at Sunset Park’s sprawling Industry City complex. The site will only serve customers in the Brooklyn area, according to the company, as CNBC first reported.

During the coronavirus pandemic, some Whole Foods locations temporarily became online-only to focus on safe food delivery. But the new Industry City site will be the first permanent online-only store, which the company says will help meet “the growing demand for grocery delivery.”…

In July, a new Whole Foods store opened in a new complex in Hudson Yards with lots of local vendors, including Threes Brewing, Café Grumpy, and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. The location also boasts a spacious set up for outdoor dining.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.6.20, backdated to 9.2.20

9.1.20 – Whole Foods distribution center opens inside Industry City

The below blog post was issued by Amazon on 9.1.20:

Whole Foods Market is opening its first-ever permanent online-only store in Brooklyn, New York on September 1. This new delivery-only retail model will allow Whole Foods Market to serve even more customers and continue to meet the growing demand for grocery delivery.

The planning for this new store format began more than a year ago—the brand-new Industry City location will exclusively serve customers in the Brooklyn area. Amazon and Whole Foods Market worked closely together to make this new online-only store a reality.

Whole Foods Market has hired hundreds of new team members to work in the store, including hiring from within the company. This store will be fully staffed by Whole Foods Market Team Members who are 100 percent dedicated to facilitating grocery delivery—enabling them to quickly receive, shop, and prepare orders for delivery to more customers than ever before.

Grocery delivery continues to be one of the fastest-growing businesses at Amazon. In fact, online grocery sales tripled year over year in the second quarter this year, indicating that more customers than ever before are turning to Amazon for grocery delivery options. Together, we’re thrilled to increase access to grocery delivery. It’s never been more important.

In addition to FREE 2-hour grocery delivery in more than 2,000 cities and towns, Amazon Prime members who shop at Whole Foods Market have access to a number of benefits year-round, like exclusive discounts on select popular products each week and an additional 10% off hundreds of in-store sale items.

Below are some behind the scenes photos of Whole Foods Market’s first online-only store in Brooklyn.

See the full post here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.2.20, backdated to 9.1.20; updated on 9.3.20


9.4.19 – Real estate expert: Amazon will open new space in LIC and elsewhere in NYC

As reported by Real Estate Weekly (emphasis mine):

In the midst of a market in which brokers are facing declining interest from foreign investors, sales are being snarled by new taxes and home buyers can now shop on Amazon, the takeaway from a recent panel with leaders in real estate is that the market is “schizophrenic.”

Residential brokerage CEOs and veteran brokers spoke about how the industry fluctuates “without rhyme or reason,” as Jacky Teplitzky of Douglas Elliman put it at the “State of the City” panel. The event, which was moderated by Shlomi Reuveni, CEO and president of Reuveni Real Estate, took place at the new Charlie West development on West 43rd Street.

Participants, speaking to a crowd of roughly 100 real estate professionals, were Frederick Peters, CEO of Warburg Realty; Bess Freedman, CEO of Brown Harris Stevens; Eric Benaim, CEO of Modern Spaces; Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Realty; Nancy Packes, president of Nancy Packes Inc., Kyle Blackmon, licensed associate real estate broker at Compass; and Jacky Teplitzky, a veteran real estate broker with Douglas Elliman…

Amazon’s renewed interest in New York was also brought up with Olshan saying – without revealing who told her — that the company would indeed return to Long Island City, Queens and to other boroughs. She added it’s not for the real estate, but to tap into the city’s tech talent pool. “They may not be getting tax breaks but they have to come to New York City. Silicon Valley has aged out. New York City is transforming. We’re becoming a tech town.”

Amazon has been rumored in recent weeks to be looking around for office space in Brooklyn’s Industry City, in Manhattan and Long Island City. LIC, Reuveni pointed out, is now the fasting growing neighborhood in the country.

The event concluded with panelists suggesting that real estate professionals get involved politically if they want to help the industry.

“I think everyone should get more involved, especially in primaries,” said Benaim. “A lot of New Yorkers are Libertarians or Independents, so they can’t vote in the primaries. If you’re a Republican, register as a Democrat because you can vote in the primary, which is extremely important.”

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.5.19, backdated to 9.4.19

8.11.19 – Interview with 32BJ president suggests Industry City-Amazon talks are ongoing

On 8.11.19, City & State New York published an interview with Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ. Bragg’s comments suggests that Industry City is currently in talks with Amazon. Bragg also offered general praise for IC. From the interview:

Now HQ2 is gone, but Amazon still appears to be expanding its presence in the city. Do your members still stand to benefit?

Absolutely, we’re talking to Industry City folks right now, I’ve been involved in those conversations. We believe it can be a great opportunity for the city as well. Setting Amazon aside, Industry City is one of the largest spaces in the city that will be developed in our current time. It will create good jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers. So, if Amazon is a part of Industry City, then we have the opportunity to go at them over being responsible employees in our city. If they land in any part of our jurisdiction, you can trust and believe that we’ll be at them about being responsible employers and creating jobs that provide people with dignity and respect in the workplace.

Note: It is not clear from these comments what kind of project Bragg is referring to. In September, 2017, Industry City offered Amazon four million square feet of its (rezoned) property for the company’s second headquarters, or HQ2 – that was a corporate office project. However, recent unconfirmed reports stated that Amazon was exploring a logistics facility in IC.

In the interview, Bragg also reiterated his union’s previous position that bringing Amazon’s HQ2 to New York City would have been good for the city and its workers:

Back when HQ2 was still happening, 32BJ supported it because it had struck a deal with Amazon, even though Amazon was widely criticized for being anti-union, and was opposed by major unions like RWDSU. What would you say to those who call the company anti-union?

Let me start by saying that Héctor’s Daily News editorial was spot on. I’m actually the officer who did the deal with Amazon, so obviously I was in favor of it. I think it was a missed opportunity for many reasons and I think the people who were anti-HQ2 are hard-pressed to really articulate what the victory was. Because we had the opportunity to take a company like Amazon, play with them on our home court, unionize a portion of their work and then to confront them on their labor policies. On top of that, we lost a countless number of jobs. People were agonizing over the tax breaks, but I think the benefits – the income that was going to be generated for this city, into this state – far outweighed any benefits that they were doing. And they had strict restrictions on how those tax dollars were going to be used. So, if they didn’t achieve the job creation goals that were set out, then they weren’t getting the money. 

We are losing young and talented folks who are starting out their careers to other cities and states because of the lack of opportunity here. Although things are good here, we could have had the ability to continue to attract younger talent into our city and generate more tax dollars and revenue into our city and state. 

So, that’s a missed opportunity. And now Amazon’s in Philly now, and that’s a 32BJ city and so we still get a crack at them. But as Héctor far more eloquently articulated in his editorial, it was a total missed opportunity. And I can’t see anywhere where people can claim victory for not having them in Long Island City.

Read the full City & State New York piece here.

— Posted by JVS on 8.12.19, backdated to 8.11.19

7.29.19 – “Amazon eyeing large distribution center in Queens”

As reported by Crain’s New York Business on 7.29.19:

Amazon may still have big plans for Queens. The company is considering a huge, ground-up distribution facility in Maspeth, several sources familiar with the firm’s real estate plans said. The deal, if it gets done, would be the latest in what appears to be an effort by the $1 trillion ecommerce giant to significantly increase the scope of its delivery and warehousing infrastructure in the city. 

The company is seeking to potentially lease a former industrial site at 55-15 Grand Ave. in Maspeth that can accommodate over 700,000 square feet of new warehouse space. If Amazon takes the site, a distribution facility customized for its use would be built on the property…

Last week, Crain’s revealed that Amazon is considering up to 1 million square feet of space at Industry City, a large complex along the waterfront in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. A source said that there too the company was eyeing a ground up, custom-built space for its use…

A spokeswoman for Amazon said “we have nothing confirmed” in Queens. She also declined to say whether the company was moving forward with a potential deal at Industry City. 

Read the full story here. 

— Posted by JVS on 7.30.19, backdated to 7.29.19

7.26.19 – Menchaca says Industry City shouldn’t do business with Amazon

As reported by the Brooklyn Paper on 7.26.19:

With Amazon reportedly eyeing up to 1 million square feet of space within Sunset Park’s Industry City for a new storage and shipping facility, locals are split on what the tech giant’s presence could mean for the largely working-class, immigrant community…

Amazon distribution facilities have provided residents in other communities throughout the city with thousands of jobs, but not all employees have spoken highly of the work….

…In the last few months, Amazon’s poor working conditions have become an international focus. On July 15, workers across the U.S. and in five countries went on strike to protest the company’s low wages and dangerous working conditions. Sunset Park’s Councilman Carlos Menchaca echoed those complaints when responding to the potential Amazon facility in Industry City.

“If Industry City is serious about being a good neighbor and having Sunset Park’s best interests in mind, it will not do business with companies that are aiding in the terrorization of immigrants or treats its workers like robots,” he said on Thursday.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 7.27.19, backdated to 7.26.19

7.25.19 – Brooklyn Paper reporter repeats assertion that Amazon denied Industry City project

On 7.24.19, I emailed Rose Adams, a reporter for the Brooklyn Paper, concerning the story she wrote that day about Amazon’s supposed interest in opening a logistics operation in Industry City.

While other news outlets reported that Amazon had not “confirmed” a deal with IC, Adams reported that the company denied the accuracy of the story. Specifically, she wrote that, “a spokeswoman for Amazon responding to a Brooklyn Paper request for comment said the company has no plans to open any additional Brooklyn facilities.”

In my email to Adams, I asked if she would clarify what exactly she was told by Amazon. She responded on 7.25.19, writing in an email that an Amazon spokesperson had called her and said, “We don’t have anything planned in Brooklyn. Nothing in the pipeline.”

On 7.24.19, I also emailed Amazon’s public relations email address, and asked the company for its official comment on the matter. As of this posting, I have not heard back.

— Posted by JVS on 7.25.19


7.24.19 – Reports link Amazon logistics facility to Industry City, but story remains unconfirmed

On 7.24.19, Crain’s New York Business reported that Amazon is interested in opening a large logistics facility in Industry City. The story was sourced to unnamed individuals – specifically, “several sources familiar with the company’s search” for the space.

In subsequent reporting, an IC spokesperson said the development won’t comment on its negotiations, but added that “a number of entities are looking to satisfy their ‘last mile’ needs in Brooklyn.”

The original Crain’s quoted an unnamed Amazon spokesperson, who reportedly said, “We don’t have anything confirmed in Brooklyn.” However, the Brooklyn Paper, paraphrasing an Amazon spokesperson, stated that “the company has no plans to open any additional Brooklyn facilities.”

I think it’s worth noting that the Amazon HQ2 pitch that Industry City sent to EDC in September, 2017 did mention “last-mile” delivery, though only in the letter Andrew Kimball and Marvin Schein sent along with the proposal. From that letter:

Our location at the heart of Brooklyn’s “Innovation Coast” offers strong adjacencies unrivaled by other NYC sites. Our campus not only meets Amazon’s major decision drivers – including proximity to mass transit, a capable and diverse workforce, sustainable building design, and a vibrant urban environment – but also provides Amazon the opportunity to brand itself as the premier organization of a borough that is nearly equivalent in size to the third largest city in the U.S. In addition, direct access to intermodal transit options would offer Amazon the opportunity to co-locate HQ2 with last-mile distribution operations capable of serving the nation’s greatest concentration of consumers.

Below are excerpts from some of the related stories published today.

(1) Crain’s New York Buiness – Amazon considering huge Brooklyn location

Amazon may have rejected Queens earlier this year. But it wants to grow in Brooklyn.

The ecommerce behemoth is searching for a massive space where it can operate a logistics facility that lets it quickly deliver orders to customers, several sources familiar with the company’s search say.

One location the nearly $1 trillion company is considering is in Industry City, a sprawling campus of buildings situated along the waterfront in Sunset Park.

A spokesman for the partnership of real estate investors that own the 35-acre property, including Jamestown, Belvedere Capital and Angelo Gordon, said the group would not comment on the potential deal.

Continue reading “7.24.19 – Reports link Amazon logistics facility to Industry City, but story remains unconfirmed”

3.29.19 – Selections from Industry City and Liberty View’s Amazon HQ2 proposal

The September, 2017 proposal is available for viewing and download on Scribd here, and here is a direct link that doesn’t require a Scribd account. Notes are below:

From the letter of support by Andrew Kimball and Marvin Schein

(1) Chelsea Market is referenced: 

“Our collective ownership has long demonstrated a commitment to meeting the real estate needs of industries that fuel today’s economy. As evidenced by Jamestown and Belvedere’s work at Chelsea Market, which saw vacant industrial buildings converted into an iconic food hall on the ground floor with the center of NYC’s tech community above, we are uniquely positioned to leverage our vast experience in the creation of amenity-rich urban campuses to support the City in this bid. We firmly believe that our Sunset Park portfolio best highlights NYC’s competitive strengths while offering many of the same benefits that Amazon currently enjoys at its South Lake Union headquarters.”

(2) IC is described as “a creative mixed-use community where ideas spread across disciplines”

(3) Amazon’s future power is referenced: “Amazon would be able to leverage an existing amenity-rich urban campus while retaining flexibility over its future redevelopment to make the site uniquely its own.”

(4) Amazon would have access to “a capable and diverse workforce”

(5) Last-mile distribution is mentioned: Amazon would have “the opportunity to co-locate HQ2 with last-mile distribution operations capable of serving the nation’s greatest concentration of consumers” (note: an as-of-right truck distribution hub is planned for Sunset Industrial Park) Continue reading “3.29.19 – Selections from Industry City and Liberty View’s Amazon HQ2 proposal”