Amazon is growing its footprint in the region to achieve new service levels and meet customer demands

Online shopping is reaching unheard-of levels, as eCommerce sales surpassed the US $4.2 trillion mark in 2020. These purchases were made by over two billion consumers, equaling close to a quarter of the world’s population. And even though the COVID-19 pandemic led to some of the surge in online shopping, the growth is considered permanent as more people became comfortable buying almost everything online. 

This increase in online sales comes with new demands from buyers. Services that keep retailers competitive, like one-day shipping, are increasing the need for local fulfillment and distribution centers. And this is one reason Amazon is drastically expanding its presence in South Florida and across the country. Refining how and which goods are delivered relies on more distribution and pick-up locations to provide the service levels consumers expect.

Here’s a look at what Amazon is currently doing in South Florida and how it may have broader implications for CRE.

A fulfillment center in Sunrise

The big news right now is a proposed Amazon fulfillment center in Sunrise, Florida. The company would build the facility on a 128-acre industrial property between Hiatus Road, 44th Street, and 50th Street. The land is currently unoccupied, and, if completed, the facility may employ about 1,000 full-time workers. 

This fulfillment center would be the fourth erected in South Florida and would fulfill orders from all over the country. If the project is approved, it will contribute to the region becoming a national hub for the online retail industry.

The Sunrise fulfillment center would be big news, but it isn’t the only evidence of Amazon’s expansion in South Florida. The company has been doing it for years. Currently, Amazon fulfillment centers are operating or under construction in Opa-Locka, Homestead, and Palm Beach County, just west of Jupiter. The imposing facility in Palm Beach County is over one million square feet, making it about the same size as Palm Beach Gardens. 

Amazon is making a significant commitment to this area, and the expansion wasn’t entirely driven by pandemic-related online shopping. And where Amazon treads in e-commerce, other retailers tend to follow.

Amazon’s other South Florida Facilities

Amazon isn’t just setting up fulfillment centers; it is expanding its entire logistics chain in South Florida. For example, Amazon opened a distribution center in Boca Raton in 2020, making it easier to get orders out once they leave one of the fulfillment centers. 

There are also several delivery stations, including two in Pompano Beach. These facilities sit in converted warehouses and have the sole purpose of ensuring packages get out in a hurry. Stations like these are becoming a vital part of Amazon’s strategy as the company aims to shorten delivery times to unprecedented speed.

What this means for CRE

While online shopping’s rise isn’t a new narrative, many analysts believe the growth is sustainable since tech holdouts—typically, older generations—gained exposure to buying a wider range of goods off the internet during the pandemic.

Amazon is always on the cutting edge of service, efficiency, and competitive costs, so its expansion in South Florida signals broader industry demand for these types of facilities. As more businesses try to secure their piece of the online shopping pie, organizations will likely need to lease or buy empty land and build on it or leverage old warehouses and other buildings in industrial areas. Various property types that can easily be converted to warehousing and distribution centers are ideal candidates. 

In particular, it’s worth keeping an eye out for properly zoned commercial real estate just outside of but close to city centers and major highways.

Morris Southeast Group can assist as you keep an eye on this and other CRE trends in South Florida so that you can manage your portfolio with confidence. We’re available at 954.474.1776 to answer your Florida commercial real estate questions. You can also speak with Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or