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Business Observer Friday, May 31, 2019 3 years ago

Fulfillment company to set up shop in Central Florida airport

Amazon reached agreement for air freight facility at Lakeland Linder International Airport. Company plans to invest $100 million seven-jet cargo hangar and support facilities

A new tenant at Lakeland Linder International Airport of Amazonian proportions has created a significant growth opportunity — and buzz — for the city mostly known as the headquarters of Publix. 

That tenant, of course, is Amazon. 

The Lakeland City Commission recently unanimously approved a 20-year deal with Amazon to lease 47.2 acres at the city-owned airport, where it intends to build a seven-jet cargo hangar and support facilities, all expected to bring 800 to 1,000 jobs to the area. Amazon, planning to invest at least $100 million in the project, also has an option to expand on 62 acres that adjoin the site. The airport is already rated to handle freight air traffic.

It's expected that Amazon will move its cargo operations to Lakeland Linder from Tampa International Airport by 2021. The company will begin operations in Lakeland with as many as eight flights per day, the current number of freight flights Amazon operates in Tampa. That is consistent with the Federal Aviation Administration’ National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, which categorized Lakeland Linder as a national reliever facility for Tampa International.

Amazon, with a distribution center on County Line Road in Lakeland for several years, is already familiar with Polk County. And while not as sexy as a new headquarters, like the national frenzy Amazon created with its HQ2 sweepstakes, the Lakeland project has substance: under the terms of the 20-year deal, Amazon will pay the city about $80,000 per month, with an option to renew the lease three times at 10 years each, for a total of 50 years, according to a report on the deal from real estate data firm CoStar. The airport plans to upgrade landing systems, add more fuel capacity and make runway improvements to support Amazon. 


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