Amazon plans to open large distribution center in Cecil County

Amazon plans to open a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center in Cecil County that would create 700 jobs. (Baltimore Sun video)

Amazon announced plans Tuesday night to open a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center in Cecil County that would create 700 jobs.

The online retail giant now employs more than 3,000 workers at its distribution and sorting centers in Baltimore.


Akash Chauhan, Amazon's vice president of North America operations, said the state-of-the-art warehouse just off Interstate 95 in North East would create hundreds of full-time jobs that pay wages 30 percent higher than traditional retail stores and include benefits, bonuses and stock awards.

"Maryland has an incredible workforce," Chauhan said in the announcement.


The Cecil County Council unanimously voted 4-0 Tuesday night to approve a resolution endorsing a state loan of up to $1.2 million for a tenant identified in the proposal as "Project Iron." Council President Joyce Bowlesby was out of town.

The Commerce Department has agreed to make the loan from the Maryland Economic Development Assistance and Authority Fund, the resolution says. Cecil County, which was required to approve the state loan, will contribute a separate $120,000 conditional loan over a period of not more than 10 years.

Amazon will invest $90 million to build the facility, which is expected to employ 700 people by Dec. 31, 2020.

The resolution says the tenant plans to sign a 10-year lease in the business park. The new facility, Principio Commerce Center I, is under construction and expected to be completed this spring. The project is being developed by Trammell Crow Co. and Diamond Realty Investments.

Amazon said last week it plans to hire 100,000 workers across its distribution network in the next 18 months. It continues to hire at its Baltimore centers to meet growing demand.

The retailer opened a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center on Broening Highway in March 2015 after the state and city offered incentive packages of more than $43 million. The facility, open 24 hours a day with staggered shifts, ships tens of thousands of packages to customers each day.

Amazon also opened a smaller sorting center nearby.

Gov. Larry Hogan said Amazon's investment and expansion in Maryland reflect the state's growing economy.

"Creating jobs and growing Maryland's economy is a top priority of our administration," Hogan said in the announcement.

Dr. Alan McCarthy, Cecil County executive, called economic development a priority of his administration.

"The attraction of Amazon, the 18th-largest company in the U.S., is a great example of the type of projects I'd like to see and bring to Cecil County in the future," McCarthy said.

Amazon touted its employee benefits in the announcement, particularly its tuition program. The company pre-pays 95 percent of its employees' tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skill are relevant to an Amazon job.


It said more than 9,000 employees in 10 countries have pursued degrees in fields such as game design, visual communications, nursing, information technology programming and radiology and other areas since the program started four years ago.

An earlier version misstated the types of packages the center would handle. The Sun regrets the error.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun