Amazon Pursues Windsor Site; Could Bring 300 Jobs

WINDSOR — Amazon could soon deliver a new distribution center to Windsor, bringing with it hundreds of jobs and a substantial tax boon.

A town official said that the location on Day Hill Road is one of a few finalists, although developers called it the preferred site.

The Windsor center, if Amazon chooses that location, would comprise 1.5 million square feet — larger than Westfarms mall, which has 1.3 million square feet. The footprint would be 1 million square feet with an additional 500,000 square feet on a mezzanine level, according to documents filed with the town's planning department.

Strategically, Inc. has been expanding its network of distribution centers to guarantee quick, even same-day, delivery, which could prove to be an advantage over other online retailers. Windsor's proximity to shipping arteries such as Bradley International Airport and I-91 have attracted other major retailers, such as Walgreens and Dollar Tree, which have similar facilities nearby.

Plans for the huge distribution center — where the online retailer would fill orders for textbooks, stereos, toothpaste and countless other items for lower New England — follow a deal in February that resolved a long-held disagreement about tax collection for online retailers in Connecticut.

Amazon agreed to collect a tax starting Nov. 1 on sales that originate in and are delivered in Connecticut. In the past, the company had not collected sales taxes in states where it did not have a physical presence.

The company also agreed to spend $50 million on a facility in the state along with hiring 300 people, said Kevin B. Sullivan, commissioner of the state Department of Revenue.

"We went back and forth; at first they were not interested, then, out of the blue, quite frankly, when we had almost given up on this, we got a call one day that said, 'You know, we are interested,'" Sullivan said.

For Amazon, the deal erased the potential for the state to recover unpaid taxes on past sales.

It was unclear Friday what locations Amazon was considering other than Windsor. The Seattle-based company did not return requests for comment.

79 Loading Docks

The plans — which call the site "Project Francisco" — describe a large warehouse, 900 parking spaces, 79 loading docks, room to park 231 tractor-trailers, and a new public road called Phoenix Drive that would extend Prospect Hill Road south along the building and could run into Bloomfield.

An estimated 75 to 80 trucks would be coming and going from the building daily, with twice that number during the holiday rush, town officials said.

Jeff Zygler, vice president of development of KTR Capital Partners, which has built other distribution centers for Amazon and is leading the efforts with the Connecticut project, confirmed that Amazon would occupy the distribution facility planned for Day Hill Road in Windsor and that the site is the preferred one.

The property is owned by River Bend Development, a subsidiary of Griffin Land, and is being leased for tobacco farming.

The February agreement with state officials wrapping up the long-standing tax issue followed similar agreements in Massachusetts and New Jersey, states in which Amazon also said it planned to build distribution centers.

The retailer's move to strike deals with states put it in front of federal efforts that would force all online retailers to collect sales tax. The Marketplace Fairness Act passed the U.S. Senate in May and is currently in front of the House of Representatives.

Windsor Mayor Donald S. Trinks said that KTR Capital Partners would own the center and that Amazon would lease it from them. It means 300 full-time jobs, he said, and more from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

On Thursday night, KTR met separately with neighboring homeowners and businesses to talk about the project, Trinks said.

If the center is approved, KTR hopes to start building by October, with the hope of completing it for the Christmas season in 2014, Trinks said.