GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The township has been quietly pursuing a business development deal with Amazon in meetings for almost a year, Mayor Don Purdy said at Tuesday night’s Township Council meeting.
“We are here to fight for Atlantic County,” he said. “Your governing body has already done it.”
Purdy made his comments after a story was published Tuesday on The Press of Atlantic City’s website that quoted Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson talking about the county’s efforts to land Amazon. The electronic commerce giant is considering a more than $5 billion investment to built a second North American headquaters that could employ 50,000 people.
Levinson said the county is prepared to offer an aggressive package, including possibly millions of dollars in tax breaks, to entice Amazon.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Purdy said. “I figured I’d call them and let them know what we are doing.”
Amazon would be a perfect match for a 450-acre former golf course on Tilton Road, the mayor said. The site is bordered by Atlantic City International Airport to the south and Aloe Street to the north.
Barrette Outdoor Living, which opened in 2016 in the former Lenox plant on Tilton Road, is next door to the north of the parcel. Barrette employs about 350 people in a 400,000-square-foot building.
Purdy said the township has designated the land as an area in need of development, in hopes of attracting a top-notch company to the business corridor.
The land is owned by Roger Hanson, who only learned on Tuesday afternoon that Amazon was the township’s ultimate target, Purdy said.
Amazon has said it was looking at a $5 billion investment and would begin with a 500,000-square-foot project, according to Purdy. Ultimately, the project could grow to 8,000,000 square feet and could employ 50,000 people.
“It would be great to have in Atlantic County,” he said.
The county leads the nation in home foreclosures, and the reduced housing prices would make it an attractive location for Amazon workers, Purdy noted.
He acknowledged that other states, especially Pennsylvania, are “working very hard” to land Amazon.
If Amazon doesn’t come to Galloway, the township is prepared to market the land to other developers, said Deputy Mayor Anthony J. Coppola Jr.
“We have a great quality of life,” he said. “We have some of the best schools and resources.”