Amazon’s ability to quickly ship stuff to New Yorkers, from Kindle readers to kayaks, is about to get a major boost.
The Seattle-based Web giant headed by billionaire Jeff Bezos is preparing to open a massive distribution hub in the Big Apple — the company’s first major facility in New York state — by summer’s end, The Post has learned.
The Amazon “fulfillment center” will span nearly 1 million square feet on the west shore of Staten Island, amping up Amazon’s access to millions of online shoppers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, sources close to the situation said.
The bold move — coming on the heels of Amazon’s suprise, $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods announced Friday — marks a new chapter for Amazon in one of the company’s most crucial markets.
Longstanding squabbles with state officials over taxes had hampered Amazon’s New York expansion, but an even bigger roadblock has been the sky-high price of real estate, sources said.
“It’s taken them a while to get to New York, where you just can’t easily find 1 million square feet,” said Marc Wulfraat, president of MWPVL, a logistics consulting firm in Quebec.
But “if you look at where they have been investing lately, it’s all the major cities where they have a need to lower their shipping costs,” he added.
While terms of Amazon’s deal in Staten Island couldn’t be learned, it appears to have been a a shrewd one, as the site had been eyed for an 82,500-seat NASCAR racetrack that got nixed because of political infighting.
Now, Staten Island pols are salivating over the group of warehouses being built by Matrix Development Group. Amazon’s 975,000-square-foot fulfillment center is expected to be the first of four warehouses on the site.
An announcement could come in about two months.
“We think the sites could bring in 3,000 employees,” said Steve Grillo, first vice president of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, adding that “Matrix has been very secretive about the tenants, but the chatter is that Amazon is coming in.”
Matrix declined to comment on the project, and Amazon called it “rumors and speculation.”
The facility will be the biggest by far for Amazon in New York, but it won’t be the first. Late last year, it took over a 161,400-square-foot distribution hub in Bethpage, LI, that’s dedicated to food deliveries.
In December 2014, Amazon opened a 40,000-square-foot “Prime Now” hub — filling urgent orders for beer, shampoo and printer cartridges within a few hours with the help of bike couriers — at 7 W. 34th St. in Manhattan.
It opened another one 12 months later in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park.
Wulfraat said he wasn’t aware of the Staten Island plans, but he said the new facility would “almost definitely hold everything that’s expensive to ship, like bicycles, kayaks, appliances and furniture, all of the things that you can’t put in a small brown box.”
Despite the excitement about jobs, one source said Amazon is planning to use robots and drones at the warehouse to reduce labor costs.