ROI Influencers: Real Estate 2020 (No. 1 — Jeff Bezos)

Jeff Bezos

Numbers. It’s always about the numbers in commercial real estate.

So, take these in:

In New Jersey in 2020, Amazon:

  • Opened more than a dozen delivery stations;
  • Opened one fulfillment center (in Cranbury);
  • Announced it was opening another fulfillment center in 2021 (in Carneys Point);
  • Announced (in September) that it was going to hire an additional 7,000 workers by the end of the year.

Just those numbers would be enough to attract our attention. But, consider the context: 

  • The fulfillment center in Cranbury is the 15th for the company in the state;
  • The 7,000 employees will push Amazon’s total employee count in New Jersey to more than 40,000, making it the largest single-company employer in the state;
  • And all of this is the reason why Amazon estimates it has made a $14.5 billion contribution to the state’s economy since opening its first fulfillment center in 2014, in Robbinsville.

For all of these reasons and more, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is No. 1 on the 2020 ROI Influencers: Real Estate list.

Bezos, a 1986 graduate of Princeton University, does not live or work in the state. His company, however, has become a driving economic force here.

New Jersey officials continue to tout location as one of the state’s top attributes. That’s something that falls directly in line with e-commerce and last-mile delivery, both of which have exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s economic influence goes far beyond its many fulfillment centers and delivery stations. While those combine to make it the state’s top employer (one that starts employees at $15 an hour with benefits), the centers themselves produce a huge economic impact for those they work with. Even more, the value of commercial properties in the area around them increases, too.

And this doesn’t take into account the fact that Amazon now owns nearly two dozen Whole Foods stores in the state.

There’s no reason to believe Amazon’s commercial real estate holdings in New Jersey won’t continue to increase at a rapid pace. In fact, earlier this month, the company announced an additional business interest is coming to the Garden State.

An Amazon Fresh grocery store, just the third such store in the chain (the other two are in California) will replace the closed Fairway Market in Woodland Park. The company did not announce an opening date for the store — but don’t be surprised if it’s the first of many here.

Amazon certainly is one of the biggest tech companies in the world. In New Jersey, it’s one of the biggest drivers of commercial real estate, too.

(Return to the main list here.)