Lenox Building Not Fit For Amazon Warehouse

The dimensions of the building and the area don't meet the online distributor's needs.

The vacant Lenox China building isn’t big enough to house online distributor Amazon.com, Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy said on Monday afternoon, July 16.

“We looked into it,” Purdy said. “(Galloway Planner) Tiffany Cuviello looked into it, and the square footage isn’t right for what Amazon is looking for.”

Purdy said the Lenox building has 18-20 foot ceilings, while Amazon requires 30-foot ceilings for their  buildings.

In May, Amazon announced its intention to build two warehouses in the state and collect seven percent state sales tax, beginning in July of 2013.

On June 2, resident and Democratic candidate for Council Jim McElwee wrote a suggesting the Lenox building would be an ideal spot for Amazon, and residents made similar suggestions at council meetings.

The roof could be raised, Purdy said, but there would be “major expenses” involved in a project like that. In addition to being too small, Purdy stated other factors would prevent Amazon from developing the Lenox property, and Councilman Jim Gorman said it was his belief Amazon was looking at facilities closer to Philadelphia.

“If there was a FedEx or a UPS at Atlantic City International Airport, that would be a benefit for Amazon,” Purdy said. “They need to be somewhere shipping costs less.”

Lenox China produced ceramics in Galloway Township for about 53 years, from 1953-2006, when it closed. It has remained vacant since its closing.

In March of this year, prevented at the vacant building in less than a week.

Purdy said he walked through the property last week, and it was in “bad shape.”

“There was a lot of mold, and the offices are trashed,” Purdy said of the property. “ … Anyone who wants to develop that building is going to have to put a lot of money into it.”

He said the outside of the building is structurally sound, and there has been interest in the site in the past, from manufacturers.

“We’ve had solar people come in here, glass recycling and a few others come and talk about different projects, but there were a lot of obstacles,” Purdy said.

Ultimately, though, those talks went nowhere.

Purdy wouldn’t be opposed to tearing the building down and replacing it with an entertainment district.

“I’ve heard people talk about putting a water park there,” Purdy said. “We could put a shopping mall in there, or a food court with a bunch of restaurants.”

“We could do something like the Comcast Center they did in Philadelphia,” said Gorman, referring to what has been labeled the “tallest green building in the country,” with an array of eateries, fountains and a 2,000-foot LED screen.

Gorman also referred to the “Boardwalk” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a 1.2 mile stretch that includes 15-20 specialty stores, restaurants and bars.

“I think that area would be great for an entertainment district,” Gorman said. “You have the expressway, the parkway, the airport; it’s in the middle of quite a bit.”

Gorman would be in favor of putting an entertainment district in the area, or of preserving the building if “the right project came along.”

“At this point, I’m in favor of anything that brings in ratables and jobs,” Gorman said. “Some people in this area have been out of work for quite a while, and we need something that’s going to bring jobs back.”

Amazon would’ve done just that. The recent announcement of a warehouse opening in Jeffersonville, Indiana brought with it the promise of creating more than 1,000 new jobs for the area.

That possibility is in the past, however, and Galloway is left continuing to look at that is becoming more famous for being vacant than for the ceramics it once produced.

Jim McElwee July 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Disappointing to hear that the Lenox property doesn't meet Amazons specifications. Nice to know that Galloway is following up on idea's suggested by the Public. Tiffany Cuviello is very knowledgable and a great asset to Galloway. I'm sure with her experience and contacts in the Planning community that she will stay on top of this and find other alternatives. I know Councilman Gorman puts the development of this property high on his bucket list in an effort to bring Good ratables to Galloway. I like Mayor Purdys suggestions for other uses and they should be explored. Don't give up. If first you don't succeed!
Tony Bellano July 17, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Tough break. That would have done wonders for the community.
Samantha Siang July 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Besides being a mold nightmare, there is probably still plenty of brown lung particles throughout this nightmare building. So many former employees have gotten sick from the ceramic dust that got into their lungs and pulmonary organs, that most in the township will never know the human toll from these sob's who closed up and went south and outsourced to China. Raze the whole damn thing if the EPA will let you and especially don't buy anymore Lennox garbage made in Red China at their EHT location on Fire Road.
Margaret July 17, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I think that the Indoor-WaterPark is a great idea. It would be a place for families to take there children year round, not just for 3 months out of the year.
Michael Guenther July 17, 2012 at 11:26 PM
It would be nice if they could come up with something for the Lenox site and the abandoned golf course too but wouldn't a water park or something similar just create another traffic nightmare for the area. It's miles from the Parkway and Expressway and almost all of it two lane roads to boot.


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