Rumours are flying that Langford will soon be home to a new Island distribution centre for Amazon.
The buzz is that a 13-acre parcel bordered by Sooke and Luxton Roads will be the site for a giant warehouse that could potentially bring up to 400 jobs to the West Shore community.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said Amazon has been the talk of the town over the past several days, but he was tight-lipped on anything official.
“It’s a great rumour, a fantastic rumour, and if it’s true I know we can sure use those hundreds of jobs in our community,” Young said Thursday. “And it is a great site because you can get anywhere on the Island pretty quickly from here.”
There’s no question Amazon, the behemoth retailer, will open a distribution centre on the Island soon, as the popularity of buying online continues to skyrocket.
The Island is currently served by smaller warehouses in Central Saanich, Nanaimo and other centres, which dispatch vans, drivers and parcels.
The question is where will Amazon build?
A massive distribution centre is being proposed on federal land at Victoria International Airport .
Edmonton-based York Realty wants to put up a 486,937-square-foot building on 7.7 acres and lease it to one tenant, but isn’t naming anyone right now.
David Ian Gray, founder of DIG360 Consulting, told the Times Colonist last month companies like Amazon and Walmart are obvious candidates, although the tenant might also be a third party, a logistics company working on behalf of many other brands and retailers.
Given the access to major transportation portals like the airport and ferries, the Sidney location would make sense for Amazon.
However, Langford has faster access to the rest of the Island and some experience with the retail giant, having thrown its hat in the ring as a long shot for a second corporate North American headquarters back in 2017.
At the time, Young said: “We just want [Amazon] to know we’re open for business.”
The Langford property along Sooke Road was snapped up last fall by Beedie, a Burnaby-based company specializing in light-industrial developments in excess of 200,000 square feet.
Beedie has developed about 30 million square feet of construction in Canada since 1954, including massive distribution centres, manufacturing plants, warehouses and commercial spaces.
The land, recently home to chicken coops and some derelict homes, has been levelled and is now prepared for building. The Luxton site would connect with Langford’s western entrance from Metchosin and Sooke, which has been developed into a major industrial and commercial complex. The area is connected by the recently completed West Shore Parkway between Sooke Road and the Trans-Canada Highway.
Amazon isn’t saying anything about the rumours.
Young said the company would likely want to make its own announcement, so he declined further comment, other than to say “we’d love to have them.”
Last month, Amazon announced another major investment on the Lower Mainland, an expansion that includes five new buildings — a fulfillment centre at the Port of Vancouver, sorting centre in Langley and new delivery stations in Pitt Meadows, Delta and Langley. The investment will create more than 2,000 jobs.
Amazon employs about 5,500 full- and part-time employees in operations, corporate and technology jobs in British Columbia and said it has invested about $3 billion in the province over the last decade.
— With files from Carla Wilson and Andrew Duffy