A proposal to build an 800,000-square-foot distribution center in Kingston is moving ahead despite the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kingston Planning Board was expected to discuss the plan for the first time at a design review hearing Tuesday night, but the meeting has been postponed to June 30 as the town tries to adjust its schedule due to the public health emergency and the social distancing rules that have canceled meetings and closed town halls in many parts of the state.
The project proposed by 266 Route 125 LLC calls for the construction of the massive distribution center on the Sears Logistics Services property at 266 Route 125.
Under the plan, a 112-acre parcel would be subdivided into four lots. The SLS facility and offices would take up two lots; the new 800,000-square-foot distribution center would be located on the third lot; and the fourth piece of property would include a 6,600-square-foot convenience store with a drive-thru coffee shop and quick service restaurant and a fueling station.
“They still seem very motivated,” Town Planner Glenn Greenwood said of the applicant.
The plan submitted to the town does not identify the company that would ultimately use the distribution center.
E-commerce giant Amazon has declined to say whether it’s interested in building in the area. A company spokesman has said Amazon has a policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation, but that the company is “constantly investigating new locations to support the growth and increase the flexibility of its North American fulfillment network to address customer needs.”
While the company’s identity isn’t known, local officials say the project would certainly bring many new jobs to the area at a time when the economy is recovering in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“You have to assume that a project as sizable as this would offer a significant amount of job opportunities,” said planning board Chairman Glenn Coppelman.
He noted the pressures that have been placed on distribution centers that are trying to keep up with demand during the pandemic.
“One thing that this crisis has done is put more and more on the distribution and companies to get products to people. There’s a significant need for it now, and there probably will be well into the future. The type of activity they’re planning would be a real service to the region and the communities,” Coppelman said.
While the project would generate more tax revenue for the town and boost the workforce, Coppelman insisted that the planning board will also have to consider other potential impacts to traffic and the environment when debating whether to approve the plan when the time comes.
“All of that stuff will be taken into consideration,” he said.