As Amazon’s Hawthorne Facility Ramps Up, Neighbors are Wary

Local officials and reporters recently got a glimpse inside  

Amazon’s massive delivery station in Hawthorne, which the e-commerce giant says is operating at full capacity, handling 50,000 packages a day.  

The April 5 tour started around 10:30 a.m. on a Friday — a quiet time at the 150,000-square-foot facility on Route 9A, where many of those familiar blue vans had already departed for Westchester and Connecticut. 

The bulk of the activity takes place overnight, when tractor-trailers from Amazon fulfillment centers pull up at the loading docks and the goods are prepared to be loaded into the vans. 

The delivery center, which opened in January, runs around the clock, seven days a week, closing only on Christmas and New Year’s Day.  

Town of Mount Pleasant officials and members of the Business Council of Westchester following an April 5, 2024, tour of Amazon’s Hawthorne delivery center. Photo by Robert Brum

Amazon has hired more than 500 employees and adds more during peak times like holiday season and Prime Day, said spokesperson Smitha Rao. 

Arjun Kulshreshtha, senior site manager, showed off an ADTA (Automatic Divert to Aisle), a robotically controlled conveyor system that labels and bags each item.  

Packages are then sent to delivery stations where associates sort them by ZIP code. Van drivers use an app to locate the packages that go to customers on their routes.  

Amazon reps wouldn’t comment on specific salaries at the Hawthorne site but said the company’s national average hourly wage is $20.50.  

Xavier Marcus, a sortation associate who trains other employees, was finishing his 1:05 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. shift as the tour was ending. 

“Working at a fresh site gives you a lot of opportunities to move up quickly,” said Marcus, who’s from Somers but moved to Elmsford since he took the job in January. “I haven’t been with the company long at all and I’m already doing fairly well.” 

Marcus, 18, added: “Their benefits are great, I come from college and Amazon pays for college tuition” under the company’s Career Choice program. He plans to stay at Amazon until he finishes his degree and wants to go into cybersecurity.  

Neighborhood concerns 

Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said the delivery center had not created traffic congestion along Route 9A, which had been a concern voiced by some before the facility opened. 

“They’re a good neighbor,” said Fulgenzi, who was among the officials touring the center on April 5. “They’re always inquisitive, asking, ‘Are we doing the right thing? Is there something we need to look at? Is there something you’d like to see us change?’ They’re trying to do the right thing, so we appreciate that. And they’re hiring people from town, too.” 

Domenick Vita said temporary barriers on Route 9A at Belmont Road and West Stevens Avenue across from Amazon have helped keep his neighborhood from being used as a shortcut for commercial traffic. 

Arjun Kulshreshtha, senior site manager, during an April 5, 2024, tour of Amazon’s Hawthorne delivery center. Photo by Robert Brum

Vita, who was among a group of neighbors circulating a petition with their concerns before Amazon arrived, is hopeful Mount Pleasant officials would decide to close off those entrances permanently.  

Commercial traffic is a concern in the neighborhood, where the North80 biotech center site plan is before the town, and where the Westchester Medical Center is expanding. 

“Our neighborhoods are more quiet because of the closures,” said Vita, who has lived on Pythian Avenue since 2015.

Fulgenzi said the town had hired a consultant to evaluate the traffic in the area and recommend how to handle street closures. 

Vita raised questions about safety and liability issues related to third-party vans hired to deliver Amazon’s goods, and said some drop-offs were being made overnight. 

He also wants Amazon to provide a liaison to deal directly with neighbors, and to consider running a shuttle bus to and from the Hawthorne train station so employees would not have to cross Route 9A on foot to get to work. 

Rao, Amazon’s spokesperson, said the company’s delivery partners are required to carry commercial, business automobile and cargo liability insurance. Amazon offers early morning delivery to some customers, who can choose that option at check-out. Those drop-offs are made by delivery partners in their own vehicles, Rao said. 

Rao encouraged residents to contact customer service to resolve delivery issues, adding that the company worked closely with town officials to address local concerns. 

She said employees arriving by train have access to rideshare codes for Uber and Lyft so they don’t have to cross Route 9A. 

This delivery center sits on a 10-acre parcel that was formerly home to Green Valley Nursery. The $99 million construction project was developed by USRE Hawthorne LLC. 

The facility was estimated to generate about $1.5 million a year in tax revenue, with 70-75 percent going to the Mount Pleasant school district and the town and county splitting the balance, Fulgenzi has said. 

The town’s Industrial Development Agency gave the developer a sales tax exemption on construction materials — the only tax incentive the company received, he said.  






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About the Author: Robert Brum