Amazon plans to open a second fulfillment center in Berks County.
The e-commerce giant will open the center in a 609,000-square-foot warehouse at 1002 Patriot Parkway, Muhlenberg Township, in September, said Steve Dunkle, the township director of engineering.
Dunkle said crews are working on internal changes to the building, where goods will be stored and packed for delivery.
“The township is thrilled,” said Dunkle, who also is the township’s building code officer. “We are a very business friendly township."
Rachael L. Lighty, Amazon spokeswoman, said in an email that Amazon could not comment on the Muhlenberg center.
Amazon also recently announced plans to open a fulfillment center in a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in the village of Shartlesville in Upper Bern Township. Amazon said the center will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs.
Lighty said construction has begun on the Shartlesville warehouse. It is expected to open at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021.
Dunkle said that in the next few weeks the township will have more details about the number of people the Muhlenberg center will employ. The building can handle about 300 workers per shift, he said.
Muhlenberg officials said the township was contacted two weeks ago by Amazon scouts who said they found a building in the township that meets Amazon’s needs.
The building, Dunkle said, was formerly part of East Penn Manufacturing, and was later converted into a logistics operation. The building has a large vehicle distribution area where trucks can enter and exit without getting into residential traffic.
Dunkle said he does not foresee any traffic problems resulting because the road in and out of the warehouse was built for traffic.
No zoning changes were required for the project, he said.
Mike Malinowski, president of the township commissioners, said the commissioners are extremely excited about the addition of Amazon.
“Muhlenberg Township has been a bright spot for economic development in Berks County, and this is just another example,” Malinowski said.
He said the retail growth on Fifth Street Highway and addition of CarbonLite, a plastics recycling plant have given the township solid financial strength to keep property taxes level.
“Amazon will bring numerous jobs to the township, and the township will work with Amazon to the best of our ability to minimize the impacts of any additional traffic,” Malinowski said. “In that area of the township, it is primarily commercial and industrial uses with minimum impact to residential roads."
Steve Willems, managing partner at NAI Keystone, Wyomissing, said the Amazon projects will spark economic development in Berks.
During the coronavirus pandemic more people are home and getting deliveries from Amazon, Willems said.
“E-commerce is the biggest thing that is driving our market now,” he said. “Everyone is home, and they are ordering things online and getting them delivered. Getting people back to work is important.”
Office, packing and other warehouse jobs for both facilities are advertised on the indeed.com website. Salaries start at $15 an hour.