Amazon to build distribution center in Pasco

The Pasco Economic Development Council announced the sale of Eagle Industrial Park off FL 52 in Pasco County. It will be the second Amazon facility to make Pasco home and the first fulfillment center, which will feature an extensive robotics system. The logistics and distribution company is investing $150 million in a new 517,220-square-foot Amazon Robotic Sortation Center and will be home to 500 employees.

NEW PORT RICHEY – Amazon will be building a large facility at the intersection of State Road 52 and Bellamy Brothers Boulevard that will provide about 500 jobs.

Pasco Economic Development Center CEO Bill Cronin told county commissioners that it was “a great day for Pasco” as he ended his presentation with the news.

The facility will be 500,000 square feet, and Cronin said it won’t be the typical sorting facility but a robotics center where local students can work on the machines that will do the work.

“These are not the low-paying jobs,” Cronin said. “This is the good stuff.”

“What a big win for Pasco County and the entire region,” said Commissioner Mike Moore.

Their job is to bring more jobs to the county so fewer people drive to Hillsborough or Pinellas to work, and this is how to do it, he added.

“Can we have more ready sites?” he asked. “What can we do as a board to assure our residents that the jobs are going to be there?”

Commission chairman Kathryn Starkey pointed out that regional traffic is increasing because so many Pasco residents take to the highways to go to work in other counties.

Commissioners were thrilled at the news, but Starkey said that there would have to be housing for the people working at the new businesses opening in Pasco County.

“All those jobs will require housing, and some of it will have to be affordable,” Starkey said. “Or they’ll go to Hernando.”

Cronin cautioned that the announced jobs won’t start until the facility is completed, and that’s expected to be at the end of the year, with a groundbreaking in February.

Moore said that the county needs to be sure it keeps land for businesses, and that’s been an issue in a county where housing needs are growing faster.

“Make sure developers are continuing to commit to those entitlements for employment,” he said. “Jobs come first. If you trade them for housing, it throws an MPUD out the window. Make sure everyone fulfills those employment entitlements.”

Starkey said more effort needs to be made to fill in areas on U.S. 41 and U.S. 19, which have blighted buildings and empty spaces that can be used for offices and housing.