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Amazon story puts spotlight on N.J. property

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Construction activity at Amazon's Robbinsville facility.
Construction activity at Amazon's Robbinsville facility. - (60 Minutes / CBS)

Amazon's plan to use drones for deliveries may have grabbed headlines after it was unveiled on Sunday night's “60 Minutes.” But the show also gave millions of viewers a glimpse of one of New Jersey's biggest real estate projects.

That development is in Robbinsville, where the e-tail giant is building one its newest fulfillment centers. During an interview with CEO Jeff Bezos, the CBS news program rolled footage of the planned 1 million-square-foot warehouse, where crews could be seen raising materials and working on the frame of the building.

The site will be one of nearly 100 high-tech, highly efficient warehouses worldwide that Amazon uses to deliver to more than 200 million customers, according to 60 Minutes. The strategy has helped the company grow over its 18 years in existence and now change the rules of the retail industry.

"The secret is we're on, like, our seventh generation of fulfillment centers," Bezos told CBS's Charlie Rose. "And we have gotten better every time. When I was driving the packages myself, one of my visualizations of success is that we might one day be big enough that we could afford a forklift."

Amazon's playbook for real estate has had no shortage of influence on New Jersey's industrial market, driving activity as other retailers follow suit in the push toward same-day delivery. The Garden State is within one day's drive of more than a third of the U.S. population, making it a highly attractive site for distribution centers.

In an e-mail message, an Amazon spokeswoman said "construction is on track and we continue to be really excited about joining the Robbinsville business community."

The building, which is being built by KTR Capital Partners, reportedly is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

"60 Minutes" also brought attention to another topic on the minds of the New Jersey business community in recent months: unmanned aircraft, or drones.

During the segment, Bezos announced that Amazon is testing drones to make deliveries, a program that could be rolled out as early as 2015 as federal regulations come online.

In the Garden State, business and academic leaders have pushed this year to make New Jersey a hub of the unmanned aircraft industry for years to come, though the issue carries some controversy. The state is vying to become a testing site as the federal government seeks to expand the use of drones beyond defense purposes.

 
 

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Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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