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Amazon's Footprint In The Philadelphia Region Surges To 57 Warehouses

The interior of an Amazon distribution center in Baltimore

Amazon was already considered a dominant presence in the Greater Philadelphia industrial market, but a new report sheds light on just how dominant it has become over the past year.

The e-commerce leviathan's footprint in the region has reached 57 warehouses including those still under development, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Among those yet to be completed is a redevelopment of the former General Motors factory in New Castle, Delaware, which will be the largest Amazon distribution center in the country.

Dermody Properties is spending $200M to build the 3.7M SF facility in New Castle, which will be over five stories tall and outfitted with $50M in technology infrastructure supplied by Amazon, including a sizable robotics component, the Inquirer reports. The mega-warehouse is one of nine that Amazon has planned for the region in 2021 after delivering 14 last year alone.

Amazon was prolific in 2020 across major markets across the U.S., but it made an especially large jump in Greater Philadelphia, where its job postings increased by 1,600% over 2019, the Inquirer reports. The 35,000 openings it posted were at least seven times more than the next-largest hiring efforts, which were Penn Medicine and hardware superstore chain Lowe's at 5,000 job postings each.

Two of the most notable warehouses in Amazon's regional portfolio to open last year were not by any means the largest. The company opened a 283K SF warehouse in South Philadelphia, among the big-box stores clustered near the Delaware River in the Pennsport neighborhood, and a similarly sized last-mile center in the suburban community King of Prussia, the Inquirer reports.

The two spots are among the most expensive submarkets for leasing in the region, in keeping with Amazon's strategy to pay whatever it takes to satiate its drive for faster deliveries. In King of Prussia, space was apparently too scarce to offer employees on-site parking, and instead the company shuttles them to the facility from a parking lot 5 miles away, the Inquirer reports. The situation was part of a series of complaints from employees that were amplified by Amazon's recent union fight in Bessemer, Alabama.