From the May/June 2020 Issue
Gov. John Carney and Amazon recently formally announced that the eCommerce giant will launch a new fulfillment center in Wilmington, DE, creating more than 1,000 full-time jobs.
Amazon first launched operations in New Castle in 1997 with its first fulfillment center in the network and launched its second Delaware fulfillment center in Middletown in 2012. The company has now grown to more than 110 fulfillment centers in North America and 185 globally, fulfilling millions of customer orders every day.
“Amazon already employs more than 2,500 Delawareans, and we welcome additional investment that will result in more jobs for Delaware families—especially at vacant industrial sites that are ideal for redevelopment,” said Gov. John Carney. “Delaware has a world-class workforce, a central location and a quality of life that is second to none. For those reasons and more, Delaware is a great place for businesses of all sizes to grow and create jobs.”
Amazon will lease a built-to-suit building, developed by Dermody Properties, at the site of the former General Motors’ Wilmington assembly plant, which closed in 2009 and was demolished in 2019. This is Dermody Properties’—a premier e-commerce, logistics real estate development firm’s—first venture in Delaware. Jeffrey A. Zygler, a partner at Dermody Properties said, “Delaware officials and regulatory agencies have been very responsive to our needs, which is paramount in projects of this magnitude. Their collaborative approach and commitment allowed us to attract Amazon to our project.”
Amazon’s new operations facility will span more than 820,000 square feet on the ground floor. Employees at the site will work alongside innovative Amazon robotics technology to pick, pack and ship smaller customer items such as books, electronics, small household goods and toys. In addition, Amazon will hire for roles in human resources, operations management, safety, security, finance and information technology.
In addition, Amazon has pledged to invest over $700 million to provide upskilling training for 100,000 U.S. employees for in-demand jobs. Programs will help Amazonians from all backgrounds access training to move into highly skilled roles across the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retails stores and transportation network, or pursue career paths outside of Amazon.
An Amazon presence in Delaware means more than just the jobs provided within its four walls. In addition to full-benefit, great jobs inside the building, the company has brought thousands of jobs in construction and services. Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than $2.5 billion in Delaware through its customer fulfillment infrastructure and compensation to its employees. Amazon’s investments in Delaware have contributed an additional $1 billion into the state’s economy, and, using methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Amazon estimates its investments in the state have created an additional 700-plus indirect jobs on top of the company’s 2,500 direct hires.
Delaware’s lead economic development resource, Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), was created in August of 2017 and fully staffed by 2018. The twelve-member team works with site selectors, executives and developers focused on where to locate or grow a business. The team helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analysis and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives and issues white papers and reports, including “Delaware in a FinTech Future.”
In addition to the new Amazon project, recent successes for DPP include JustFoodForDogs. The West Coast-based pet food market disruptor opened its second master kitchen at a New Castle site in March and already outpaced its first-year growth plans. Prelude Therapeutics, an early-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Wilmington that was named to the Fierce BioTech “Fierce 15,” has two clinical trials in progress and has outgrown its space twice since launching in 2016. Farmers of Salem, a regional mutual insurance company founded in 1851, will bring 52 jobs to Wilmington when it relocates in 2021.
Delaware’s core sectors include science and technology, manufacturing and logistics; business and financial services; food and agriculture; and healthcare and education.
“In Delaware you really do get the best of all possible worlds,” says DPP team leader Kurt Foreman. “This includes an exceptionally experienced and diverse talent pool; some of the world’s most innovative companies, including Incyte, a Forbes ‘Most Innovative Company,’ and very competitive costs for doing business.”
Delaware has a coveted centralized location with proximity to major airports, one of the busiest Amtrak hubs, convenient driving distance to other major cities and a busy international port. Northern Delaware is part of the nation’s seventh-largest metropolitan area, and 50 million people live within a 250-mile radius. Strategically located between New York City and Washington, D.C., Delaware is at the center of the country’s largest consumer market, with New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore all less than 150 miles (241 kilometers) away. Executives living in Delaware can have breakfast in D.C., lunch in New York and still be home in time for dinner.
Nationally, Delaware has the fourth-highest concentration of employed PhDs in health, science and engineering. And more than 31 percent of Delawareans hold a bachelor’s or an advanced degree. Delaware has some of the nation’s most respected research universities, a nationally recognized historically black university, a coding school and a design college, as well as easy access to more than 100 of the nation’s most respected universities, medical schools, liberal arts colleges and Ivy League institutions. Delaware’s workforce programs make it easy to find exactly the kind of employee you need, and they secure future growth with programs that start at the middle school level.
Want to learn more about Delaware corporate expansion?
Considering Delaware for your company’s relocation or expansion project? Check out all the latest news related to Delaware economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection.