FedEx has found new “ground” in Long Island City.
The shipping giant is planning to close its current Maspeth facility and open a new, 14,000-square-foot FedEx Ground distribution center on Borden Avenue in L.I.C. The center, expected to be completed in the spring of 2013, will cost roughly $56 million — including land, construction and material-handling equipment.
FedEx’s investment is being planned at the same time the reportedly cash-strapped United States Postal Service announced the closure of its College Point mail sorting facility. The station will also move on to the same block FreshDirect currently inhabits — until the online grocer bolts to the Bronx in 2015.
According to FedEx Ground spokesperson David Westrick, the facility will be larger and contain more automated package sorting systems than the existing station, allowing the company to better serve the area. Westrick also said all positions will transfer over to the modernized center, which is part of the company’s plan to expand its business-to-business shipping sector.
FedEx has opened 11 new distribution centers since 2005 and has accelerated ground service by one or more days to over half the country, according to Westrick.
“The new facility is part of a nationwide network expansion to boost daily package volume capacity and further enhance the speed and service capabilities of the FedEx Ground network,” Westrick said.
The project will be developed by the North Carolina-based SunCap Property Group LLC, which will own the facility through a joint venture with Lexington Realty Trust, and lease it to FedEx. The construction of the building will be left to Aurora Contractors Inc., located in Ronkonkoma, New York.
Westrick says L.I.C. attracted FedEx as a premier location for the facility due to a wide spectrum of reasons.
“The site was chosen because of its ease of access to major highways, its proximity to customers’ distribution centers and a strong local community workforce for recruiting employees,” he said.
Dan Miner, the senior vice president of business services of the Long Island City Partnership, is happy to “welcome” FedEx to the neighborhood.
“We think L.I.C. is a large and diverse enough community to welcome residential, commercial, artistic and industrial uses,” Miner said. “So the FedEx facility fits in well with L.I.C.’s historical role as a center for industrial employment in New York City. I understand they are bringing a certain number of jobs and will be investing in the facility as well, which are good things.”
While Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is in favor of FedEx’s move, he says he will work with the company to ensure the standard of living for residents is not jeopardized by truck traffic or other changes.
“Keeping jobs in the city is an important piece of this,” said Van Bramer. “I also think there could be some overflow and an increase in customers for some local cafes, restaurants and businesses. We want to work with FedEx to mitigate any concerns on truck traffic, but we are pleased that more and more major companies, like Jet Blue and FedEx, have chosen to make L.I.C. their homes, further underscoring this incredible renaissance that L.I.C. is having.”