BROOKSVILLE — Hernando could be the next county in Tampa Bay to get an Amazon center, although no formal plans have yet been discussed publicly by county officials or announced by Amazon.
In March, the shipping and shopping giant Amazon spent $6.2 million to buy a 70.6-acre parcel adjacent to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, according to property records.
The site is bounded by the Suncoast Parkway on the east, Anderson Snow Road on the west and Corporate Boulevard on the north. It is approximately the same size as the property the company bought last December in Pasco County for $11.8 million on the south side of State Road 52 at Bellamy Brothers Boulevard.
In January, the Pasco site was announced amid fanfare because the location was designed to be a robotic sorting warehouse, which could attract a specialized workforce. Work on the warehouse was expected to happen quickly, but there has not yet been construction on the site, which officials had hoped would open by early 2023.
The formal company announcement projected construction of a $150 million, 517,220-square-foot facility that would provide 500 new jobs. Just 2 miles from Interstate 75, the new Pasco warehouse is expected to assist with Amazon logistics.
“This facility will feature linehaul trucks which will utilize the Interstate 75 corridor to bring shipments to locations across the southeast,” the company said in a news release. “The most unique feature will be the approximately 180,000-square-foot mezzanine supporting a 100 percent robotics-based sorting system.”
The warehouse is planned for a site that Pasco’s economic development council had marketed as a “ready site,” a program designed to provide large sites with the necessary infrastructure in place to handle industrial development. In Hernando County, there has been no public announcement about Amazon and no discussion publicly about help the county might offer to assist the company.
Valerie Pianta, Hernando County’s economic development director, said she knew of the Amazon purchase but had no other information she could share on the site or the company’s plans.
George Southworth, the landowner who had sold the Pasco property on State Road 52 to Amazon, said he reached out to the Amazon developer after learning of the Hernando purchase but said he does not believe that it will have any impact on the company’s plans in Pasco.
“The Suncoast Parkway is not a major shipping artery like I-75,” Southworth told the Tampa Bay Times. “I doubt the intended use of a site along the Suncoast would be the same as the Eagle 1 (Pasco) site.”
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He said he understands that the Hernando site will be used as a “last-mile warehouse,” which is the last stopping off point for Amazon merchandise before it is delivered to the customer.
Several other similar warehouses have been built in Florida in recent years, including one in Land O’ Lakes also in Pasco County that the company announced in 2020 and is now in operation. That facility, near the interchange of the Suncoast Parkway and State Road 54, is 110,000 square feet and cost an estimated $40 million.
“Regarding your questions on pending projects in Pasco and Hernando Counties — we do not have any updates to share right now,” said Amazon Central Florida public relations specialist Greg Rios.