The Herald News, Monday, November 23, 2015 – Page A1

By Kevin P. O’Connor

Fall River – From Innovation Way to Route 24 three is a big new hole in the ground, a quarter mile of dirt, mud and dust crossed by massive vehicles.

The scale of the landscape makes an 18-wheel flatbed tractor-trailer look small as it crosses the expanse. That big truck is far from the largest vehicle on the scene.

Earth movers, dump trucks and the bull-dozers sculpt the earth. A mound of dirt and crushed stone, 60 feet tall, is at the center of the project, larger than most buildings in the city.

Amazon is coming to town.

Construction workers have been putting in two 10-hour shifts a day in the bio-park, preparing the site for a 1-million square foot distributing center being built that will straddle the Fall River and Freetown line.

RC Andersen LLC of East Rutherford, N.J., is the general contractor. The company paid the city $296,683.97 in fees on November 3 for the permits and inspections the project will require.

Before the work is done,$36,320,000 will be spent on the project, according to applications filed by Andersen.

In the thick file, the name Amazon does not appear as the builder or the eventual owner.

Amazon announced it will contract with another company to build a center to their specifications and maintain it. Amazon will lease the space.

Beyond that, Amazon has said little. Even when applying for state tax credits in March Amazon officials declined to answer questions from a reporter, referring questions to the Amazon public relations office.

The Amazon public relations office has never responded to repeated calls and emails during the past year.

RC Andersen LLC filed all the paperwork for the project and has worked with the city to get preliminary approval of its engineering plans and safety programs.

A vice president with RC Andersen declined to discuss the project, explaining that a non-disclosure agreement that is part of the development contract prohibited commenting.

The Redevelopment Authority of Fall River still owns 77.34 acres set out for the project. The RDA accepted an offer from Trammel Crow Co. to buy and build the facility and then lease it to Amazon.

Officials with Trammel Crow Co., a real estate development company founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1948, also declined comment, citing the non-disclosure agreement in their contract.

When meeting with the RDA, George Laigaie, a senior vice president with Trammell Crow, said his company hopes to complete the facility in the fall of 2016 so Amazon can use it for the Christmas season that year.

Workers are operating under a building permit issued to allow construction of the building foundation. That work is estimated at $1,275,475, city records show.