There was pomp and circumstance in North Arlington last week as FedEx Freight officially opened its new facility here. It was the culmination of years of work and negotiations between FedEx and the governing body and other officials.
Though temperatures were unusually high — and the ceremony took place in a fairly warm, enormous truck bay — it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, including Mayor Joseph Bianchi — who was one of a few dignitaries to take the the microphone.
“I bet a lot of you people never heard about North Arlington, but you’re going to hear a lot of it now with FedEx,” Bianchi said. “After many months and many challenges, it’s truly amazing to see this beautiful facility fully completed and functioning as part of North Arlington’s family. We are very happy you are here and offer our borough services to you.
“… today we do not just celebrate the opening of this amazing facility, but also the beginning of the rebirth of this industrial area of our community. We can point to this day as when industry and redevelopment is real in North Arlington and not just talk. Jobs, business activity, decrease our property taxes. So much more will result from our work. Thank you for leading this effort. Welcome aboard, FedEx.”
Bianchi reminded those gathered that the land the FedEx facility rests on — it’s now called Copper Mine Road — was pretty much uninhabitable until FedEx came along and cleaned up it.
“This was a piece of property that was basically contaminated,” the mayor said. “FedEx came in and put a ton, a ton of work into it. I want to thank FedEx — I want to thank you for making a useless piece of property worthwhile. And like I said before, the Porete Avenue buildings have been there since I’ve been a kid. At my age now, to see all this rebirth, it’s great. We’re attracting good, good business. (We’re) witnesses to the rebirth of our industrial area, which isn’t that big — but it’s our industrial area.”
State Assemblyman Gary Schaer, a Democrat from Passaic and the 36th legislative district, who represents North Arlington in the General Assembly, praised the work accomplished by a Republican-controlled borough council.
“Some 165 employees will now work at this facility,” the assemblyman said. “They’ll be joining their colleagues in the State of New Jersey as 10,000 employees in the state. And on behalf my colleagues in the state, we thank you for choosing North Arlington and we thank you for reinvigorating this important and critical area in the state of New Jersey and most importantly, the 36th Legislative District.
“To FedEx, we thank you for being here. And I will admit, now, a public faux pas, and I hope you won’t hold it against me. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it today so I sent over the resolution to make sure you got it. And I admit I wasn’t sure what we used to send it over so I asked my staff and I was told ‘Well, we have a state contract — we use UPS.’ So ladies and gentlemen, FedEx, you’re here in our district, so let me commit to you that we have the state of New Jersey change its commitment.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Councilwomen Jean Williams and Allison Sheedy and Councilmen Mark Yampaglia and Dan Pronti in addition to various other department heads. Former Mayor Leonard Kaiser and redevelopment adviser Robert Ceberio also attended.
John Smith, senior vice president of operations and soon to be president and CEO of FedEx Freight, also addressed the crowd of around 150 assembled.
“Our customers are the only reason we’re able to build such a facility,” Smith said. “We’re very proud of this and we hope to keep building and adding on to this. What we have under the roof right now is about 140,000 square-feet. But the best news to that is that we’re sitting on 45 acres. We have 165 doors, right now, and we have the building (where) we can expand this facility.”
Smith says the new facility will “allow (FedEx) to grow in this market because this is a great market and we want to be in this market. So we’re excited about the size of this facility.”
The North Arlington facility is the 9th such location for FedEx Freight in the state — the closest two are in Newark — and one of 25 the company has built in the last year.
“If you want something picked up or delivered, we gotcha covered,” Smith said with a tinge of a Southern drawl.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.