New York has about 128 million square feet of industrial space, far less than many smaller cities. Indianapolis, whose population is just one-tenth that of New York’s, has nearly double the space. Chicago is the nation’s leader with more than 1.2 billion square feet.
Many packages come to New York from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where there is room to build bigger and cheaper warehouses. And in the past year Amazon has added 14 new warehouses in New Jersey and on Long Island, totaling more than 7 million square feet.
But having warehouses in the city is more cost effective and can trim roughly 20 percent off delivery expenses compared with deliveries that originate in New Jersey.
“We are excited to continue to invest in the state of New York by adding new delivery stations,” said Deborah Bass, an Amazon spokeswoman, adding that the company’s goal was to “become part of the fabric of New York City by embracing the people, the needs, and the spirit of the community.”
Amazon’s rapid expansion in New York has also drawn more scrutiny to the treatment of its workers, an issue that the company has faced in other parts of the country. Amazon has sought to quash efforts by warehouse employees to form unions — including on Staten Island — and a high-profile battle is currently being waged in Alabama.
In New York, the attorney general has sued Amazon over conditions at two of its local warehouses, accusing the company of failing to properly clean its buildings and conduct adequate contact-tracing, as well as of taking “swift retaliatory action” to silence employee complaints.
An Amazon spokeswoman disputed the allegations and said the company cared “deeply about the health and safety” of its workers.