close
close

Amazon buys land in Salinas for $40 million

E-commerce giant Amazon is revisiting its plans to build a massive distribution center in south Salinas. If built, it would be the largest facility in the city, if not the entire county. “This will be a huge cultural change not only for Salinas but for the entire county,” said Norm Groot, president of the Monterey County Farm Bureau. This time, Amazon has skin in the game. KSBW confirmed that the retail giant spent $40 million to purchase land near Harris and Garrett roads to build a two- to three-million-square-foot mega warehouse. The site is located near the busy intersection of Harris and Abbott streets. “The Chamber of Commerce believes some good things can come from this. And they believe there are some bad things that can come out of this,” said Kevin Dayton, policy analyst for the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce. The good: it will provide approximately 2,000 permanent jobs, tax revenues for the city and hundreds of workers for construction work on the construction of a huge distribution center. Disadvantages: There are concerns that a huge distribution center could lead to domination in the form of more warehouse construction and more traffic in an already heavily trafficked area. “We hope that Amazon will be a good neighbor and we recognize that there are some challenges with this facility and that they would be willing to come to the table and help solve some of those issues, help with the infrastructure, help plan for trucks to come in and out of it area,” Groot said. This is Amazon’s second attempt to build a distribution center in Salinas. The first information was shrouded in secrecy after the city signed a confidentiality agreement with the e-tail giant. The company withdrew two years ago, but the city seemed to be following the same path of secrecy until KSBW began asking questions about Amazon’s $40 million purchase of the land. “I think the community should be very concerned about this and concerned about the fact that there hasn’t really been any public input or discussion on this,” Dayton said. “We really need the city to be more open, have a lot more transparency about the planning process and expectations for Amazon as they move forward with this project,” Groot added. Public records show Amazon bought at least 22 acres last December. This would come about two months after Salinas parted ways with then-city manager Steve Carrigan, who was fired for undisclosed reasons. Rene Mendez, current Watsonville city manager, will become Salinas’ new city manager at the end of this month and will be tasked with guiding the city and Amazon throughout the construction process and, more importantly, closing the transaction and providing greater transparency throughout the project. City officials told KSBW that no building permits have been issued so far for the land in question or for the project, which could be worth more than $1 billion. However, the same leaders said that permission to realign the roads could be issued in the coming weeks. Emails sent to Amazon’s public affairs office went unanswered until close of business on Thursday.

E-commerce giant Amazon is revisiting its plans to build a massive distribution center in south Salinas. If built, it would be the largest facility in the city, if not in the entire district.

“This will be a huge cultural change not only in Salinas but throughout the county,” said Norm Groot, president of the Monterey County Farm Bureau.

This time, Amazon has skin in the game. KSBW confirmed that the retail giant spent $40 million to purchase land near Harris and Garrett roads to build a two- to three-million-square-foot mega warehouse. The site is located near the busy intersection of Harris and Abbott streets.

“The Chamber of Commerce believes some good things can come from this. And they believe there are some bad things that can come out of this,” said Kevin Dayton, policy analyst for the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The good: it will provide about 2,000 permanent jobs, tax revenue for the city and hundreds of jobs in the construction of a huge distribution center.

Disadvantage: There are concerns that a huge distribution center could dominate the construction of more warehouses and increase traffic in an already heavily trafficked area.

“We hope that Amazon will be a good neighbor and we will recognize that there are some challenges with this site and that they would be willing to come to the table and help solve some of those issues, help with the infrastructure, help with planning how we will enter and we will drive trucks out of the area,” Groot said.

This is Amazon’s second attempt at building a distribution center in Salinas. The first workaround was shrouded in secrecy after the city signed a confidentiality agreement with the e-commerce giant.

The company withdrew two years ago, but the city seemed to be heading down the same path of secrecy until KSBW began asking questions about Amazon’s $40 million purchase of the land.

“I think the community should be very concerned about this and concerned about the fact that there hasn’t really been any public input or discussion on this,” Dayton said.

“We really need the city to be more open, have a lot more transparency in terms of the planning process and expectations for Amazon as they move forward with this project,” Groot added.

Public records show Amazon bought at least 22 acres last December. This came about two months after Salinas parted ways with then-City Manager Steve Carrigan, who was fired for undisclosed reasons.

Rene Mendez, Watsonville’s current city manager, will become Salinas’ new city manager at the end of this month and will be tasked with guiding the city and Amazon through the construction process and, more importantly, closing the deal and providing greater transparency throughout the project.

City officials told KSBW that no building permits have been issued so far for the land in question or for the project, which could be worth more than $1 billion.

However, the same leaders said that permission to realign the roads could be issued in the coming weeks.

Emails sent to Amazon’s public affairs office went unanswered until close of business on Thursday.