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Amazon Launches New Hub for Apartment Firms

Amazon The Hub

By Les Shaver; Image by Hub by Amazon

The online retailing giant is finally introducing locker systems for the apartment industry. Find out how the process is going with one early adopter.

For years, apartment owners having been trying to get out of the package business. The long-rumored Amazon entry into the package locker business could offer them that opportunity.

Last week, Endgadet’s Mariella Moon reported that Amazon is launching its package locker solution, called The Hub, for apartment owners.

To access packages, residents will enter a pickup code onto a digital screen and a corresponding door with the package will open. The Hub will accept packages from all major retailers, but deliveries will be limited to apartment residents. The Hub comes in a variety of models, indoor and outdoor versions and three neutral colors.

The starter model is six-feet wide and 42 compartments. An expansion module can add 23 more compartments. “The modules link to each other to provide the right capacity for your property’s needs,” Amazon says on its website.

Amazon is not releasing pricing details, but is asking interested parties to sign up for more information. The online retailing giant has already inked agreements with some apartment firms. Amazon is installing its Hub system in at least 25 communities managed by Folsom, Calif.,-based FPI Management, according to Vanessa Siebern, a Vice President at FPI.

“What is exciting about the Amazon Hub is that you can place it anywhere in a community,” Siebern says. “Before we would have had to pour concrete and make sure there was an enclosure for the lockers to be under, if we were doing an outdoor installation. With Amazon, we can put the lockers anywhere and we will be able to install them in multiple locations on the community.”

Eventually, Amazon will also offer package-less returns and cold storage on site, according to Siebern. “With the Amazon partnership with Whole Foods, it makes a lot of sense to provide cold storage going forward, so residents can also have grocery delivery,” she says.

Freedom from Packages

The proliferation of packages arriving in its leasing offices has tested FPI’s onsite teams. At many sites the company has one staffer whose full-time job it is to check in packages and deliver them to residents.

“This allows us to focus on the operation of the buildings,” Siebern says. “We just started talking to Amazon and we realized this partnership makes a lot of sense for our residents and ownership groups.”

Victoria Cowart, CPM, the Vice President of Property Management at Darby Development Co., says the company is currently exploring package locker options and is curious about Amazon’s entrance into the market.

“We want to get out of the package business,” Cowart says. “It is not because it is too difficult to serve our clients. It is just not our forte and it is not what we do great.”

Right now, Cowart says the apartment owner has packages piling up in its leasing offices, which is not an ideal solution.

“You walk in our offices that we’ve spent a lot of money to decorate and delivery people are just putting them underneath a credenza in our leasing space, right across from the assistant’s desk, and it looks bad,” she says. “I don’t have the space for this, and I don’t have the hours to provide packages on demand as the lockers do.”