An Amazon fulfillment center is coming to Haverhill, filling the space off Route 97 formerly occupied by Southwick Clothing.
The online retailer’s arrival in the city is something Mayor James J. Fiorentini has been seeking since he organized a regional pitch in 2017 to attract Amazon’s second headquarters. When Amazon agreed to build a distribution site in North Andover in 2019, the mayor again predicted ancillary benefits. Asked by WHAV yesterday, Fiorentini confirmed Amazon is expected to sign a lease next week.
“We were absolutely thrilled when Amazon went next door to North Andover at the old Western Electric building and we indicated there would be some side benefits when this happened. So, we’re thrilled and look forward to an official announcement next week,” he said.
Back in September, Fiorentini told WHAV listeners he was aware of an incoming business at the former Brooks Brothers’ manufacturer, but had been “sworn to secrecy.” The mayor said Amazon plans to discuss the size and scope of the project in detail next week. Meanwhile, the city has issued a permit for demolition of parts of the existing building.
Amazon’s name began appearing on documents as construction fencing went up around the 25 Computer Drive location. Wayne, N.J.-based Donnelly Construction is handling redevelopment of the property adjacent to a Target department store.
Fiorentini said the company has promised to create new jobs.
“We’re very thrilled to have 250 jobs coming to the City of Haverhill. It’s not as good, frankly, as Southwick. We still mourn the loss of Southwick and Brooks Brothers with 450 jobs,” Fiorentini said.
The mayor added he is still advocating for the Southwick workers who lost their jobs.
“We’re going to do everything we can so that some of the people laid off at Southwick are able to be retrained to get some of the jobs that will be at this company,” the mayor said.
Southwick closed the Haverhill site as well as other plants across the county back in May and later filed for bankruptcy protection. Boston-based Eastern Real Estate closed on the property last August, paying $14 million for the buildings and property listed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The City of Haverhill placed a $400,053 lien on the property, saying Southwick did not meet the terms to receive tax relief. The money covers property tax reductions given to Southwick as part of a TIF—Tax Increment Financing—agreement in 2014, and used from 2016 to 2020. City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. said money was set aside at the bankruptcy sale and the city continues to pursue collection.