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NKY Housing Shortage Could Be A Problem For Amazon

Work continues on Amazon's Air Hub set to open this year at CVG. Housing experts wonder where company employees will live.
Work continues on Amazon's Air Hub set to open this year at CVG. Housing experts wonder where company employees will live.

Real estate agents and landlords are looking ahead to later this year when the first of 3,000 Amazon Air employees start moving into the area.

Agent Jennifer Vories with Keller Williams worries home buyers could have a problem finding a place to live because properties are only staying on the market for a month or less.

"Where are we going to put everyone is what I'm thinking," she says. "I'm not really sure where we're going to put them. But if we have buyers and we only have one month of inventory and it's going to stay this way for quite some time - as long as the interest rate stays low - all of these people have got to have a place to go."

Vories points out land purchases are up but says there are only so many builders. She wishes the smaller players who went out of business in 2008 would come back.

Vories and others were panelists for the Northern Kentucky Chamber's Eggs 'N Issues Tuesday.

General Manager of The Drees Company Ben Taylor says it will be interesting to see where the Amazon Air employees come from. "There's been some discussion about busing people in from other places. But, let's not forget there's a certain tier of management that's going to come with those 3,000 employees and these are people that will be buying houses."

Taylor says they won't come all at once and he thinks the area will be able to absorb them.

Many hourly employees may have to rent, and rents are going up in Northern Kentucky. Towne Properties' John Recob says a $15/hour employee can afford $850-900 a month to rent. For an $18/hour worker, it bumps up to $1,100.

But Recob says in Florence, you won't find anything cheap enough. "Rents are being pushed up. There will be a gap if you want to live close to Amazon, within 5-7 miles."

In the last few years he says rents there have gone from $800-950 a month to $1,000-1,400 a month.

Amazon is set to open its central air hub late this year. The company says it chose CVG for a number of reasons, including a skilled workforce, a centralized location and proximity to fulfillment centers.

As part of the deal, CVG is leasing 900 acres for 50 years. Kentucky brought $45 million to the table in incentives. It's costing $1.5 billion to build a 3 million square-foot facility.

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.