Warehouses Transform N.Y.C. Neighborhoods as E-Commerce Booms

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But the rise of warehouses has also sparked significant opposition. While they provide jobs and can lower residential property taxes by contributing to the local tax base, people across the region say the large hubs will lead to constant flows of semi-trucks and delivery vans that will worsen pollution and traffic congestion.

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They have also bemoaned the loss of open land to mega facilities. In recent months, residents in the southern New Jersey township of Pilesgrove, just across the Delaware River from Wilmington, Del., protested plans for a 1.6 million square-foot warehouse — larger than Ellis Island — on former farmland.

While Amazon, major retailers and logistics operators such as UPS, FedEx and DHL dominated the initial wave of warehouse deals at the start of the pandemic, interest is now coming from smaller businesses seeking greater control of their supply chain amid a global bottleneck in the movement of goods.

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“I’ve been doing this for 30-some-odd years, and I’ve never seen it like this,” said Rob Kossar, a vice chairman at JLL who oversees the company’s industrial division in the Northeast. “In order for tenants to secure space, they are having to negotiate leases with multiple landlords on spaces that aren’t even available. It’s insane what they are having to do.”

The rising cost to lease facilities has frustrated some small business owners who cannot compete with retail and logistics giants, as well as newcomers like Tesla and Rivian, which have opened showrooms and service centers for their electric vehicles in Brooklyn warehouses. Leasing prices for warehouses in the Bronx, for instance, have jumped 22 percent since the pandemic started.

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Warehouse jobs are still just a fraction of New York City’s labor force, but companies are on a hiring spree. Since 2019, the number of warehouse jobs doubled to 16,500 positions in late 2021. New hires at Amazon make around $18 an hour and get starting bonuses up to $3,000. But the company has also been fighting workers at some of its warehouses, including on Staten Island, who are trying to unionize to improve working conditions.

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