Everything about Amazon’s planned distribution center at the Colorado Springs Airport shouts big, and the building permit issued for it last month by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department is no exception.
The department lists the cost of the 3.73 million-square-foot building at 4222 Integration Loop in the Airport’s Peak Innovation Park at $368.9 million.
That’s the highest-value permit the department has issued since at least 2000 and likely the highest ever, said Roger Lovell, the department’s top executive. The previous largest permit was issued in July for the 278-acre Grazing Yak Solar Project near Calhan at a cost of $316 million.
The value of a permit is based on the estimated construction cost and doesn’t include the cost of buying the land and extending roads and utilities. Since Amazon distribution centers use thousands of robots and have miles of conveyor belts and automated equipment to do a variety of tasks, the company likely will also spend hundreds of millions of dollars on such items. Bob Cope, the city’s economic development officer, said he expects Amazon will make a “significant investment” in equipment but didn’t have an estimate.
“This Amazon facility is going to be the biggest building in Colorado Springs and probably the biggest in the state of Colorado,” said Tammy Fields, senior vice president of economic development for the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. “In addition to the jobs being created, we’re excited for all of the innovation that comes along with this project, including the high-tech robotics that will optimize the supply chain process.”
To put the cost of the Amazon project in perspective, the cost of the distribution center is more than this year’s city budget of $331.1 million. But big numbers are nothing new for Amazon, which generated $11.6 billion in profit last year on $280.5 billion in sales. That means Amazon generated enough sales to pay cash for the building in 11½ hours and made enough profit to pay for it in less than two weeks.
Amazon bought the 69-acre site for the center last month from the city for $6.33 million and had been been doing site preparation for weeks before that. The company said the center, which is expected to open in the second half of next year, would employ more than 1,000 to ship customer orders for books, electronics, toys and other smaller items to the Colorado Springs area, across the rest of the state and to surrounding states.