Riviera Beach Fla. – Blue tape covers the “Amazon” sign on a door of a shiny new building, at the corner of 13th Street and President Barack Obama Highway (formerly Old Dixie Highway) in Riviera Beach, for decades previously occupied by a drive-in movie theater and later a flea market.
The building remains unoccupied, and city ofﬁcials have become closedmouthed since the mayor’s announcement months ago that corporate giant Amazon was setting up shop in the community with the prospect of hundreds of jobs and ancillary beneﬁts.
Riviera Beach Public Information Ofﬁcer Nicole Rodriguez would say only that the project is “delayed,” and referred a reporter for further information to Amazon, from which there was no response to the question of the status of the Riviera Beach facility.
In contrast, ofﬁcials and residents of the waterfront city were ecstatic in July, 2021 that Amazon had spent $10 million to purchase property and build a delivery center in the city, according to the South Florida Business Journal.
The building is there, is massive, on 4½ acres, and seemed poised to open for business based on the hype and media coverage.
Things are different in Opa-locka, another predominantly African-American city. There, Amazon’s 850,000-square-foot hub at MiamiOpa-locka Executive Airport, one of the largest supersized distribution centers in South Florida, continues buzzing along since its debut in 2019, when then Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, a proponent of the project for her district, predicted it would contribute to a “renaissance” for the area.
The company’s 1,000-job commitment for employees to pack and ship books, electronics and toys to customers, made in conjunction with the Carrie Meek Foundation for the company’s 10th Florida location back then, has been more than met, while the center “has to be one of the most sophisticated e-commerce facilities on the planet,” veteran CBRE industrial broker Larry Genet told South Florida Business & Wealth following a tour several years ago.
OF THE NORTH
Further north in Port St. Lucie, in St. Lucie County, Mayor Shannon Martin said she is optimistic about her city’s Amazon collaboration, which boasts two facilities under construction and slated to open this fall.
One is a traditional non-sortable fulﬁllment center in a 1.1 million square foot building on 110 acres near the Interstate 95 ramp. The other is a 220,000-square-foot delivery station. The facilities are expected to generate 700 jobs but there is no exact date for their openings, she said.
“We are delighted that Amazon has chosen to make this substantial investment in Port St. Lucie,” said Martin. “We have a longtime strategic goal to diversify our local economy and grow our job base so our residents do not have to leave the city to go to work.”
“The jobs created by these two Amazon facilities are a perfect example of these efforts coming to fruition for our community.”
Myriad cities beyond South Florida have developed partnerships with Amazon to advance their economic development. Residents keeping an eye on South Florida developments may ﬁnd the results are mixed. Look for further updates on where the region’s projects stand.