Amazon announces new warehouse in Ottawa's east end

Online retail giant Amazon confirmed Tuesday its plans to bring a massive distribution centre to Ottawa's east end.

Retail giant says new distribution centre will create 600 jobs

Mayor Jim Watson says the city began working with Amazon on plans to secure the new warehouse shortly after losing a bid to host the company's new headquarters. 0:23

Online retail giant Amazon confirmed Tuesday its plans to bring a massive distribution centre to Ottawa's east end.

Once the new one-million-square-foot facility is built, it will employ more than 600 people full-time, according to Amazon, and become a hub for shipping large items such as household furniture, sporting equipment and gardening tools.

The distribution centre will be the eighth of its kind in Canada, but different than other facilities in the country that mostly pack and ship smaller items. 

The plan for the facility — located at 5371 Boundary Rd., near Highway 417 — was previously confirmed by Orléans MP Andrew Leslie in an interview with CBC News in May.

The distribution centre will be located at 5371 Boundary Rd., near Highway 417.

1,500 construction jobs

Mayor Jim Watson and Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais shared the company's plans at a press conference Tuesday morning. 

Watson said construction of the new facility will create another 1,500 jobs, on top of the 600 created by the company's presence in the city. 

The city is working with the site's developer, Broccolini, and Ontario's Ministry of Transportation to upgrade nearby infrastructure in anticipation of the build, including changes to the Highway 417 off ramp.

Bringing natural gas, hydro and water to the facility could cost between $8.4 and $9.1 million, which the developer will cover, he said.

Although a business owner often pays for these sorts of infrastructure upgrades when it needs them, these will be a benefit to the city, according to city staff.

City to waive $800K of interest for retail giant

City officials are citing those various benefits as the reason to forgive $800,000 in interest payments from Broccolini.

The builder wants to delay paying $8 million in development charges — that's the money developers pay the city to cover the costs of growth, like expanding transit services — for a year.  It's not unusual for a developer to apply to pay those fees at a later time, but they have to pay the city 10 per cent interest.

However, Broccolini wants the $800,000 interest fees forgiven outright.

Blais moved a motion at planning committee on Tuesday to waive the interest. It passed, although Councillors Tobi Nussbaum and Jeff Leiper voted against the move, suggesting that Amazon could well afford to pay the $800,000 in interest fees. The change will need a final approval at council on Wednesday. 

Russell could benefit

Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux — whose town is a stone's throw away from the future Boundary Road facility — said the warehouse will provide jobs for young people in the area, though some residents are concerned about traffic from employees and delivery vehicles. 

Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux says the Amazon warehouse will mean more jobs for people in his community. (Olivia Chandler/CBC)

"That's one of the main arteries to come into town," Leroux said. Boundary Road will need improvements and that can hopefully be addressed in the site planning phase, he said.

"Amazon is not a small player by any means, so I'm sure they want to come into a community and make it as well-received as possible."