Amazon’s need for speed leads it to Melrose Park’s former racetrack site

The retailer is leasing 623,000 square feet where Maywood Park used to operate.

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A rendering of the Chariot Logistics Center in Melrose Park.

A rendering of the Chariot Logistics Center in Melrose Park.

Ridgeline Property Group

Amazon said Tuesday it will hire hundreds of full- and part-timers for a new distribution center on the site of the old Maywood Park racetrack in Melrose Park.

The company said it will occupy three buildings in what’s now called the Chariot Logistics Center, a name that memorializes the site’s harness racing past. It said the operation will help it fulfill its “last-mile” delivery challenges to get packages quickly to Chicago-area customers.

Its lease will cover 623,000 square feet southwest of North and First avenues. The shell buildings will be done by the end of January, said Larry Goldwasser, executive director at Cushman & Wakefield, the property’s leasing agent. Amazon spokeswoman Shone Jemmott said the company expects to begin operating there this year.

She said the Melrose Park site will be part of Amazon’s Delivery Station network, increasing its access to outside contractors to help during peak business. Such locations, she said, “offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their own business delivering packages on behalf of Amazon.” Jemmott said wages will start at $15 per hour.

Atlanta-based Ridgeline Property Group owns the 42-acre site. The track closed in 2015.

Amazon has a million-square-foot fulfillment center in Aurora. In October, the company said it will occupy later in 2020 a similarly sized center in Channahon, southwest of Joliet, where it said it will employ 500 full-timers. It plans a smaller facility in Skokie.

The retailer has reported more than 11,000 workers in Illinois and in September announced plans to double the size of its technology hub in downtown Chicago, adding 400 jobs over the next three years.

The Chicago Tribune first reported Amazon’s Melrose Park lease.

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