Amazon is abandoning plans for its Round Rock distribution center— indefinitely.
The $250 million project would have raised a massive distribution center on a 193-acre piece of Robinson Ranch— a 7,000-acre tract where companies like Apple and Microsoft have built corporate campuses. The temporary cancellation of the development marks the first major setback in the region’s industrial real estate market, which has been a favorite of investors since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the rise of e-commerce, according to the Austin Business Journal.
“Amazon has placed the project on hold indefinitely, and may not move forward on the site in the future,” Brad Wiseman, the city of Round Rock’s director of planning and development services, said in a May 26 email to the publication.
In an official statement, the company confirmed it is “pausing the entitlements process related to the site we own in Round Rock,” citing excess capacity in its nationwide distribution and transportation network. Earlier this month, the Seattle based e-commerce company posted its worst financial quarter in seven years, suffering a quarterly financial loss of $3.8 billion.
The decision is also surprising as the company was on track to becoming the region’s largest employer, reporting 11,000 employees in the Austin area in the first quarter of 2021. The company’s presence was only behind Dell Technologies (13,000) and H-E-B (19,000) both of which have been concentrated in the area for decades.
The currently vacant lot on 2801 County Road 172 was bought by a subsidiary of Amazon, ABJ reported last November. The land is located on the corner of East McNeil Road and the State Highway 45 toll road, near the La Frontera shopping center. Officials had submitted documents to annex and rezone the land but the item had not come to the city for a public hearing since.
Though Amazon still owns the land, plans for any future projects are unknown. “We will re-engage with the City and neighboring community when the timeline for this site is more defined,” the company said.
[ABJ] — Maddy Sperling