HEBRON, Ky. -- Experts are planning for an innovative Amazon initiative that could bring tens of thousands of jobs to the region over time.
Amazon announced in January they’ll spend $1.5 billion to build a hub for Amazon Prime Air at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The hub will be near DHL, a move that will create approximately 2,700 jobs, according to Kentucky’s Cabinet for Economic Development.
But experts say that number could increase significantly; the number of employees could be up to six times that figure over the course of 30 years, and now, development experts are planning for the potential boom in growth.
Candace McGraw, chief executive officer of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, said there’s no way of knowing how jobs will multiply over time, but they have to plan as though it could happen.
“Who knows what the future will hold, and how this can grow and what tangential benefits may result for not only the airport, but for the community as a whole,” McGraw said.
In addition to the Prime Air hub, an unnamed developer announced at a June Sanitation District meeting it wants to reserve sewage capacity for a 2.2 million square foot sortation building with 15,000 employees.
The sortation facility would be built on land adjacent to DHL’s facilities near the intersection of Aero Parkway and Ted Bushelman Boulevard.
Adam Chaney, executive director of Sanitation District No. 1 of Northern Kentucky, says the board has to plan conservatively and be prepared in case jobs expand significantly.
"We also have to balance that against the needs of the rest of the community,” Chaney said.
Development experts say they know Amazon will expand the hub in the decades ahead but exactly how much depends on unknown economic factors.
Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore said the majority of growth will be determined by long-range planning by Prime Air engineers.
“A lot of it is just projection,” Moore said. “We don't have hard counts. We don't know what those numbers are. That makes it a little more difficult, but we are planning for a much larger number than 2,700.”
An increase in jobs will inevitably cause a bump in logistics and a need for increased public transit, Moore said.
Jim Billimoria, public relations manager for Amazon’s Transportation Division, declined to comment except to say the 2,700 job projection is according to Kentucky’s Cabinet for Economic Development.