The board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted unanimously Thursday to authorize a 20-year lease with Amazon Global Air that will bring more than 1,000 jobs to the area, more than $300 million in rent to the Port — and state-of-the-art cargo facilities to Newark Liberty International Airport.
Under the terms of the proposal, Amazon will spend $125 million to redevelop two existing cargo facilities totaling approximately 250,000 square feet into modern sites that meet or exceed sustainability standards.
Amazon will pay the Port Authority $150 million upfront for building rent — and then pay an additional $157 million for land rent over the course of the lease. It will have one option to extend the lease terms for five years.
Huntley Lawrence, the acting chief operating officer and director of aviation at the Port Authority, said the lease agreement with Amazon could be signed during the fourth quarter of this year — with the renovations expected to begin shortly thereafter. The renovations are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2023.
The proposal, which was presented during a regularly scheduled Port Authority meeting, was approved without objection or discussion, and marks the end of a yearlong effort to lease the facilities.
The two buildings (No. 339 and No. 340) were built in 1996 as multiuse cargo facilities. They are located on approximately 23 acres of land at the north side of the airport.
Today, they consist of office space, warehouses and cargo storage, which are subleased to various cargo and noncargo tenants.
Under terms of the proposal lease, Amazon would provide economic and environmental benefits to the communities surrounding the airport as follows:
- Amazon will make commitments to following participation goals: minority-owned business enterprises (20%), women-owned business enterprises (10%) and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises (3%);
- Amazon will make a good-faith effort to use local business enterprises for contracting and subcontracting opportunities;
- Amazon will target hiring of local residents;
- Amazon will commit to investing in infrastructure that would support zero emissions, ground service equipment and solar infrastructure;
- Amazon will rehabilitate the cargo buildings to meet industry-leading energy-efficiency standards.
In August 2020, the Port Authority issued a request for expressions of interest for the operation and maintenance of the cargo facilities. The Port Authority then issued a request for proposals to all seven firms that responded to the RFEI.
Port officials said the RFP included basic lease provisions, such as lease duration, minimum capital investment and rental requirements. And the rental rates were established and informed by a comprehensive industry benchmark study conducted by independent consultants.
Three firms submitted proposals. Amazon’s proposal was judged to be the highest-rated.