Orange County Partnership - News

Amazon Warehouse Hailed as Economic Engine for Area

TOWN OF MONTGOMERY - An excavator cleared trees in the
woods, and construction equipment was dropped off through an access off Route
17K. After the $75.2 million Amazon warehouse had been granted a $20.5 million
tax break Friday, site work started on Tuesday.

The arrival of Amazon in the Town of Montgomery has been
hailed as an engine of economic growth and job creation. Local businesses and
the residential real estate market are expected to benefit from the presence of
the new neighbor.

The massive fulfillment center near the intersection of
routes 17K and 747 is expected to employee more than 800 people within two
years of completion and create 300 construction jobs. The salary range of jobs
to be created is from $31,200 to $60,000.

At 1,010,880 square feet, it will be the biggest building in
Orange County.

Town Supervisor Brian Maher said the warehouse will bring
millions of dollars into the community, and the traffic that will be created by
hundreds of construction workers over the next two years will benefit local

“They’ll buy food and get gas from local businesses. The
disposable income from the activity will support the local community,” Maher

That sentiment was echoed by local business owners who are
expecting a growth of the local economy and a boost in their businesses.

Sunil Kumar, manager of the nearby Valero gas station on
Route 17K, expects more people to stop by and get food and gas during its
24-hour operation.

Randi Greene, who owns a bakery in the Village of
Montgomery, said although the village business district may be too far away for
lunch breaks, she hopes Amazon would utilize local businesses as much as
possible for things like catering and landscaping. She also looks forward to
seeing the company support school programs and fundraisers.

Although some residents expressed concerns over their
property value during public hearings, local Realtor Larry Curasi said the
overall property value in the town will stay consistent and is more likely to
go up. The jobs will bring more people to the area, which means the demand for
housing will get stronger, he said.

“Although it’s hard to see economic benefits right now, it
will add value in the long-term,” Curasi said.

Maher reassured that the warehouse will have limited impact
on residential properties because it is in a location that is not too close to
many residential or high-density population areas.

Real estate agent Veronica Mugnano has seen more people,
especially millennial families, that are attracted to the area by the sense of
community and a reputable school district.

“People know each other in the community. It’s a good place
to raise families,” Mugnano said.

However, the invisible impact of the project is uncertain. A
study by Institute For Local Self-Reliance shows that while Amazon often paves
its way into communities, and into taxpayer subsidies, with promises of all the
people it will hire, the company destroys more jobs than it creates.

The company had created 146,000 jobs across the country, but
displaced enough sales at brick-and-mortar stores to force the elimination of
about 295,000 retail jobs by the end of 2015, according to the report.

Montgomery resident Don Berger expressed his concerns about
potential water contamination when he pointed to a tributary of the Wallkill
River that runs through the site.

“I’ll come here everyday to see what changes the development
would bring to the area,” Berger said.