Amazon, which plans to open a massive fulfillment center this summer near the Colorado Springs Airport, has taken another major step toward expanding its presence in the Pikes Peak region.
The Seattle-based online retail giant has agreed to sublease a 278,670-square-foot "sortation center" — a key part of Amazon's package delivery network — that's now under construction just south of a company delivery station in the airport's Peak Innovation Park, Greg Phillips, the city's aviation director, said Friday.
Amazon agreed to sublease the sortation center from a limited liability company that public records indicate was formed by Suncap Property Group of Charlotte, N.C.
Suncap's limited liability company, in turn, is constructing the building and this week completed a 75-year agreement, with a 15-year extension option, to lease the 37.4-acre sortation center site from the airport.
A Suncap spokeswoman didn't respond to an email seeking comment and previously declined to elaborate citing a nondisclosure agreement. An Amazon spokeswoman responded, but didn't have information on the project.
The sortation center was to be part of Amazon's 3.7 million-square-foot fulfillment center that's under construction in the airport business park, but those plans changed about six months ago when Suncap approached the city to lease the site, Phillips said.
Amazon's five-story fulfillment center, likely the largest building in Colorado, is scheduled to open this summer and employ more than 1,000 workers. It will ship customer orders for books, electronics, toys and other smaller items to the Colorado Springs area, across Colorado and to surrounding states.
Fulfillment centers prepare orders for same-day deliveries to the surrounding area and then deliver items to a sortation center, where packages are further routed to an Amazon delivery station or Whole Foods grocery — owned by Amazon — that's closest to the customer.
Amazon also operates a sortation center in Aurora that serves its fulfillment centers in Aurora and Thornton.
Site preparation at the sortation center has been underway for months, and the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department issued a permit Feb. 4 valued at $30 million for the building's foundation to Sandy, Utah-based Layton Construction.
The general contractor has built three Amazon fulfillment centers in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Plans for the sortation center, which had been filed with city officials last year under the code name "Project Congo," show the building will include parking for 317 employee vehicles and another 319 trucks.
Amazon also plans to build two more delivery stations in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed last year with the city.
While the company isn't named in those documents, they spell out details that closely match how Amazon describes its delivery stations — "where customer orders are prepared for last-mile delivery to the surrounding neighborhood."
One delivery station will occupy a former Sam's Club store at 715 S. Academy Blvd.; the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department has issued a permit to demolish some of the interior walls of the old Sam's store, and construction and electrical permits are pending at the site.
Plans also have been filed for a construction permit to build a delivery station that would replace the shuttered Western Forge tool manufacturing plant at 4607 Forge Road in northwest Colorado Springs.
Statewide, Amazon employs 10,500 people at four fulfillment and sortation centers, four delivery stations, a tech hub, an air hub, 19 Whole Foods Market locations, a 4-star store, an Amazon Books store and a Prime Hub Now location.