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FedEx set to leave Maspeth for LIC

FedEx Ground holds a groundbreaking for its new Long Island City site with Fischer & Co. President Cliff Fischer (l.-r.), Long Island City Partnership President Gayle Baron, SunCap Property Principal Flint McNaughton, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Sean O'Connor, Scott Garton and Chris Shea of FedEx Ground. Photo courtesy FedEx
TimesLedger Newspapers

Major online grocer Fresh Direct may be leaving Borden Avenue for the Bronx, but a representative for the Long Island City Partnership said courier company FedEx’s planned move nearby means the neighborhood’s industrial corridor is still active.

“We’re very pleased,” said Dan Miner, senior vice president for business services for the partnership. “It is certainly going to bring some more workers to the neighborhood.”

FedEx Ground, the arm of the corporation that provides one- to five-day small package deliveries via truck, broke ground last month on a new distribution center at 29-01 Borden Ave. in Long Island City.

Sean O’Connor, vice president for FedEx Ground’s Eastern region, said the new center is replacing one in Maspeth and will bring about 200 jobs to the area — 80 of which will be new hires.

“We chose this Long Island City site because it offers easy access to local highways, is close to customers and has a large population from which to recruit future employees,” O’Connor said.

The new center will be 140,000 square feet. Construction costs are $56 million and the center is scheduled to be complete and ready to open in August 2013. Like the current site in Maspeth, the Long Island City center will work with FedEx Ground’s major hub in northern New Jersey in delivering packages throughout the New York City metro area.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said in a statement in response to the move, “When companies like FedEx make changes, such as the recent decision to move office locations, my main concern is about their workforce and the delivery of service. Since FedEx is keeping their entire workforce and not downsizing, I respect that the decision was made in the company’s best interest.”

FedEx Ground employs about 59,000 people, has partnerships with more than 9,000 independent businesses and transports more than 5.1 million packages a day throughout the United States and Canada.

The Long Island City center’s future site is a few blocks away from Fresh Direct, an online grocer that employs 2,000 people, which is planning a move to the Bronx. The grocer’s decision to leave Queens has made some of its neighbors nervous that the loss of such a large workforce will affect their business.

Miner said he believed FedEx’s arrival confirms that Long Island City can still sustain large industrial facilities.

“We’re still optimistic that other users will see the value in the FedEx space,” Miner said, “and we anticipate that the Borden Avenue area and the area east of the Sunnyside Yards will continue to remain a vibrant center for industrial business in New York City.”

FedEx Ground said the company has been going through an expansion throughout the United States, of which the Long Island City center is a part. The corporation, based in Little Rock, Ark., is creating 11 new major hubs and is taking 500 of its facilities and expanding them or moving them to new, bigger locations.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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