Amazon headed to the Detroit area after all

Pontiac Silverdome, Michigan, in 2011. Photo by Alex Simple/Wikipedia.

It’s not a headquarters, but Amazon will have a presence in the Detroit-Windsor region after all.

Detroit television station WDIV reported Wednesday night that the online giant will build a giant distribution complex on the site of the former Pontiac Silverdome. Amazon would be a tenant of the site, which would be owned by Seefried Industrial Properties.

The 127-acre site would include a delivery depot and a large sorting centre on the site of the Silverdome, which was the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions from 1975 to 2001 and also during much of the 1980s, the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. The 80,000-seat stadium was imploded in December 2017.

According to a release published on WDIV’s website, the planning commission for the city of Pontiac was considering a special permit to allow the site to have a warehouse, distribution centre and a fulfillment campus. It would be the first Amazon site in North America to have both a fulfillment centre and a delivery depot on the same premises.

Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman called the Amazon plan encouraging for the city and the region.

“The former Silverdome site is an ideal location and Pontiac is poised with a ready workforce,” said Waterman in the media release. “Landing amazon will bolster Pontiac’s continued economic success and further our pipeline of pairing industry with talent.”

The deal has yet to close, but if all goes well, construction could begin by the end of this year. The delivery station could be ready by the summer of 2020 with the entire complex completed by the summer of 2021. The site could support 1,500 full-time jobs plus several hundred part-time positions, all with full benefits.

Detroit and Windsor had teamed up in late 2017 to try to woo Amazon to the region for its second headquarters, but the bid failed to advance to the second round of consideration.