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It sure sounds like Amazon wants to open a giant facility in Johnston, R.I.

The town’s planning board is set to discuss a proposal from Bluewater Property Group, which is also seeking to develop a distribution center for Amazon in New York

An Amazon Prime parcel passes along a conveyor at an Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Frankenthal, Germany in Oct. 2020.Thorsten Wagner/Bloomberg

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Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I say DoorDash had the best Super Bowl commercial. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 117,891 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 450 new cases. The most-recent overall daily test-positive rate was 3 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 20.1 percent. The state announced three more deaths, bringing the total to 2,212. There were 288 people in the hospital, and 82,078 residents had received the first dose of the vaccine.


Call it the worst kept secret in Rhode Island.

Amazon isn’t quite ready to confirm it, but all signs suggest that the e-commerce giant may want to build a 3.8 million square-foot “retail distribution facility” off of Hartford Avenue in Johnston.

The town’s planning board has scheduled a meeting for Feb. 16 to discuss the proposal, which would include a six-story warehouse with approximately 823,522 square feet of ground floor area. The developer is asking the board to approve several zoning variances to allow the project to move forward.

.Johnston officials won’t confirm that Amazon is the intended occupant of the facility, either, but the applicant, Bluewater Property Group, is also seeking to develop a similar distribution center for Amazon in New York.

”Amazon has a policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation,” spokeswoman Katelyn Richardson said in a statement. “The company is constantly investigating new locations to support the growth and increase the flexibility of its North American fulfillment network to address customer needs.”

In a memo to the planning board, town planner Thomas Deller described a very Amazon-sounding facility:


”The 823,522 square foot ground floor will consist of shipping and receiving areas with truck dock bays; casing, sorting, and labeling of goods assembled via material handling equipment from upper stories which will be staffed; and, employee support spaces. The 379,570 square foot Mezzanine/Platform level will consist of automated robotic sorting equipment which will handle materials from above. This area will have limited employee presence. Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5, each approximately 665,470 square feet, will consist of material storage, and robotic sorting and transportation of materials to the ground floor with limited employee presence,” he wrote.

As it stands now, Fall River is home to the Amazon distribution center closest to Rhode Island.


⚓ Amanda Milkovits reports that nearly 1,500 Rhode Island Republicans left their party after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and supporters of former President Donald J. TrumpRead more.

⚓ Despite offers of signing bonuses, Amanda reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult to find workers for nursing homes. Read more.

⚓ My colleague Alexa Gagosz reports that the state has agreed to pay consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal more than $12 million for to assist with its plans for reopening the economy, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, testing, and vaccine rollout. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Island is receiving 800 to 1,000 complaints per day about unemployment insurance fraud now that the federal government has extended a COVID-19 relief package and boosted weekly unemployment checks by $300. Read more.


⚓ Murray Whyte has a fascinating story on Edward Mitchell Bannister, the Black painter who changed Providence. Read more.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Abigail Kohler, co-founder and chief executive of ResusciTech, a Providence-based startup that recently developed an app that brings first aid and CPR training and certification to iOS and Android platforms. E-mail us with suggestions for this weekly interview. Read more.


⚓ SportsDan Shaughnessy writes that Tom Brady completed his revenge tour when he carried Tampa to the Super Bowl last night. Read more.

⚓ Politics: Top House Democrats are preparing to unveil legislation that would send up to $3,600 per child to millions of Americans, as lawmakers aim to change the tax code to target child poverty rates as part of President Joe Biden’s sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Read more.

⚓ TV: These were the best ads that ran during the Super Bowl. Read more.

⚓ Boston: My colleague Shirley Leung writes that it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Boston’s next mayor won’t be a white male. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ If you want to watch a football game that is actually exciting, check out Rhode Island “Madden” star Jacob Wallack’s big game for $150,000 that aired on ESPN 2 over the weekend. (Spoiler: He wins.)

⚓ Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training director Scott Jensen will appear before the Senate Oversight Committee to discuss unemployment fraud claims at 6 p.m. Read more.


⚓ The Cumberland Town Council and School Committee will hold a joint meeting at 6:30 p.m. to discuss to COVID-related school improvements and collective bargaining.

⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.