JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Johnston Town Council has officially signed off on a proposal that allows for the construction of a massive Amazon distribution center.
The nearly 4-million-square-foot facility would be located off of Route 6 near I-295. The town is offering the online retail giant a 20-year tax break to build the facility.
Amazon plans to spend approximately $290 million to build the facility, which is expected to employ 1,500 full-time workers.
Gov. Dan McKee testified in favor of the development during a special hearing Wednesday, underscoring the importance of having an Amazon.com facility in Rhode Island.
“What’s really important is people are going to benefit from these jobs,” McKee said, adding that Rhode Island is the fastest recovering economy in the Northeast.
But not everyone is thrilled about Amazon moving in.
Critics have expressed numerous concerns about the major development, citing the potential for negative impacts on area traffic and the environment.
R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti said as part of a community partnership agreement, Amazon will be contributing approximately $6 million toward traffic improvements on roadways in and around the facility.
Those improvements, according to Alviti, include the addition of a raised median, the installation of additional traffic lights, two new access roads onto Hartford Avenue and the widening of the ramps leading both onto and off of I-295.
Mayor Joseph Polisena expects construction to begin on the new facility as early as October.
The company behind the development, Bluewater Property Group, previously said the goal is to have the facility up and running by spring 2023.