A massive new ecommerce robotics fulfillment center, which multiple sources say will be home to Amazon, is being planned for land just south of Naval Air Station Oceana.
On Wednesday, the Virginia Beach Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the application for a five-story, 650,000-square-foot warehouse to be built on a more than 160-acre site along Dam Neck Road near where it meets with Harpers Road.
The building would include 55 loading docks, 420 tractor-trailer parking spaces, and 1,750 parking spaces to accommodate over 1,000 employees, according to planning department documents.
The city, through a development agreement, would construct a new road between Dam Neck Road and London Bridge Road on city property that was the planned home of the Southeastern Expressway that was never built.
The Planning Commission spent two hours considering the request that Deputy City Manager Taylor Adams said will be filled by one of the “five most desirable clients in the world.”
However, only once was the name “Amazon” uttered — by a neighbor in opposition to the project.
Emily Hawkins, who works in communications for the retail giant, declined to confirm details.
“Amazon is a dynamic business and we are constantly exploring new locations. We weigh a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future sites to best serve customers, however, we have a policy of not commenting on speculation or our future roadmap,” Hawkins said.
Multiple sources familiar with the project but not authorized to speak publicly confirm Amazon is the “end user.” In addition, comments made by the attorney representing the applicant, renderings presented to the city and parties involved in the proposal leave little doubt about who is looking to move in.
The applicants are BT Holdings III, LLC & PDC TN/FL LPIV, LLC. BT Holdings III is registered to the address of Virginia Beach-based Crelor Land & Development Co. City records indicate they have owned the land for more than 10 years.
PDC TN/FL LPIV, LLC is registered to the address of the Nashville office of Panattoni Development Company. Panattoni has built several Amazon warehouse facilities across the country including the one in Western Branch.
Attorney Eddie Bourdon, who is representing the applicant, told planning commissioners that he could not name the user but gave a hint when responding to concerns about the speed at which the development is moving through the approval process.
“The secret to their success is how quickly they get products to people who order them,” Bourdon said. “They are very scheduled.”
Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said he could not confirm who the user would be, but said he is excited about the possibility of the development.
“This could be a game-changer for our community,” Dyer said. “Thousands of jobs that will keep our children here.”
City Council will have final approval on the rezoning of the land and the development agreement that Adams said is necessary.
“Some public investment is required to induce the prospect,” Adams told commissioners. He did reveal how much the city’s contribution could cost. All he would say is the developer would be putting up a “nine-figure investment.”
Seven neighbors, mostly from the Prince George Estates neighborhood, opposed the new road, fearful of how the tractor-trailer traffic will impact their quality of life.