Amazon’s robotics fulfillment center opens in city’s Northgate Commerce Park

Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2022

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The new Suffolk Amazon robotics fulfillment center has officially opened for business.

While the announcement came with much fanfare and a visit from then-Gov. Ralph Northam, an Amazon official announced the opening of the 3.8 million-square-foot, $230 million facility in Northgate Commerce Park came quietly, with the fanfare expected sometime later this year. The ground footprint of the building is 822,833 square feet, and it stands at 95 feet tall, which is four-and-a-half stories.

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“The fulfillment center successfully launched earlier this month,” company spokeswoman Emily Hawkins said, two-and-a-half years after officials made the announcement. It is expected to employ about 1,000 people in full-time positions.

This comes on the heels of Amazon’s nearby 640,000 square-foot cross-dock fulfillment center, the first of its kind in Virginia, opening last month about two miles away in Chesapeake — that location will, according to the company, create 1,000 full- and part-time jobs.

The company also opened an AMXL Delivery Station in Northgate Commerce Park, at 103 Industrial Drive, to handle large-size items such as televisions, couches and kayaks for last-mile deliveries within an hour’s radius of the facility. This facility employs about 60 people in full- and part-time jobs.

The company faced delays in getting the facility operational, having been previously scheduled to open earlier this year.

“It’s really challenging to hit a deadline in construction these days,” Deputy City Manager Kevin Hughes said in an interview earlier this year. “That facility is just much different, and so, the equipment needs to operate that facility probably delayed a lot of it.”

He likened the new Suffolk Amazon facility to a different company.

“The way that I like to think of that facility is you just take all the Walmarts in Hampton Roads, and stack ‘em,” Hughes said. “That’s what that is.”