City Councilor-at-Large Dan Rizzo questions Amazon's coming to Revere (Courtesy)

Revere Mayoral challenger Dan Rizzo sees flaws in Amazon facility

REVERE Mayor Brian Arrigo's announcement last week that Amazon is planning to open its newest distribution facility in the city was met with a shrug from Councilor-at-Large Daniel Rizzo, his opponent for the corner office. 

"I think there's a misconception among the public that this is an HQ2 (Amazon headquarters) vs. a distribution center like in Everett," Rizzo said. "We need to be very careful about this. Outside of the name, Amazon, we don't have any other information in terms of how they're going to be providing (jobs) to Revere residents or controlling traffic down there." 

The 600 vans and vehicles that will be parked on the site, located at 135 American Legion Highway, and used by employees to make deliveries will put a further strain on a road that is already congested, Rizzo said. 

"I think that filling up that old building that's been sitting there vacant for quite awhile is a good thing," he said. "I'm excited that old facility will once again be able to put people to work, but I want to make sure we mitigate the impacts from that facility and (make sure it) positively impacts our community." 

Rizzo and Arrigo are locked in a hotly contested race for mayor, which will be decided on Tuesday, Nov. 5. In 2015, Arrigo beat Rizzo by 118 votes. The former mayor returned to the City Council after topping the ticket in the 2017 election. 

Last Thursday, Arrigo touted the Seattle-based e-commerce company's plans to open its newest delivery station at the former New England Confectionery Co. (NECCO) site next spring as one of the most significant commercial developments in the city's history.

But Rizzo is not convinced. 

While Rizzo said it's great to have the Amazon name in Revere and he's all for the facility if it's going to create jobs for residents, the company's plans to open a distribution center in the city are not unique. 

The delivery station will be one of hundreds across the country, Rizzo said, and he's heard that Amazon is looking for five million more square feet of space in Massachusetts alone. 

"Amazon is obviously looking for space," Rizzo said. "They've been reaching out to other facilities and towns looking for facilities because obviously, they have needs they need to fulfill." 

The development is expected to create 600 to 800 full- and part-time jobs, which will make Amazon the city's largest employer. In the months leading up to its opening next spring, the world's largest retailer is expected to invest $30-40 million worth of renovations into the 830,000 square-foot building, according to Arrigo. 

The 50-acre property has been vacant since NECCO abruptly shut down in September 2018. Amazon has signed a lease agreement with property owners Atlantic Management, a Framingham-based real estate development firm, and V.M.D. Companies, a North-Andover based real estate and development company. 

The news of Amazon's plans to build in Revere comes on the heels of the city being shortlisted last year by the e-commerce giant as one of the 20 metropolitan areas under consideration for its highly sought after new HQ2 headquarters. The city and Boston filed a joint application, which, if accepted would have brought the company to Suffolk Downs and created 50,000 jobs. 

Ultimately, Amazon chose New York City and Northern Virginia as its new headquarters, but the deal fell through that led to them nixing the Big Apple and focusing on its other selection instead. 

During that sweepstakes, HQ2 was discussed with the City Council, but Rizzo said the panel had no advanced warning of potential plans for a distribution facility. 

"HQ2 would have been really special and would have had some cache," Rizzo said. "If I'm elected mayor two weeks from today, one of the first things I'll do is approach Amazon and talk to them about employment opportunities for Revere residents." 

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