A purchase of 18.7 acres at the Colorado Springs Airport was finalized Tuesday to accommodate online retail giant Amazon’s new delivery center, which could employ 600 people, replacing a temporary tent operation that opened in November.
A $8,4 million, 66,000-square-foot warehouse — about the size of a large grocery store — will be used as Amazon’s delivery station when completed in mid-September. The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department issued the building permit last week.
CF Capybara, a company created by New York-based Fortress Investment Group, bought the site for $2.25 million and will lease the completed building to Amazon, documents show. Fortress entities also bought properties last year for major Amazon distribution centers in North Carolina and Ohio.
The Tuesday purchase, which city officials hinted at for months, is only the start for Amazon’s major expansion in the Springs. The Colorado Springs City Council in November approved selling the 18.7-acre parcel and an adjacent 70-acre parcel to the same buyer. No plans have been submitted for the second site.
Amazon.com Services leased 4 acres at 7704 Milton E. Proby Parkway in November and opened a 17,000-square-foot tent facility with 150 employees. Amazon is paying $10,000 a month for the land through March 31, 2020, and likely will keep that structure until the permanent center is finished.
The tent station gave Amazon the final link to use companies or individuals to deliver its goods, spokeswoman Amanda Ip said.
Amazon’s local expansion comes as the company grows its footprint across Colorado and nationwide to get merchandise to customers more quickly, sometimes within two hours. To speed deliveries in Colorado, the company opened a robot-aided distribution center in Thornton last summer with plans for up to 1,500 employees.
Mayor John Suthers, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on the transaction. An Amazon spokeswoman also declined to comment.
Amazon also announced plans Tuesday to expand its Denver Tech Hub with 400 more employees, including software and hardware engineers and cloud computing and advertising specialists.
The company is building office space in Denver’s Lower Downtown at 1515 Wynkoop St., former headquarters for Chipotle. There, workers will build products and services for Amazon’s retail and advertising businesses as well as Amazon Web Services, a company news release said. Amazon said it has spent more than $1.5 billion over the past three years, pumping more than $1 billion into Colorado’s economy. That’s part of the $160 billion Amazon has spent nationwide over the past seven years on corporate offices, research and development centers, fulfillment centers and payroll offices.
Amazon employs more than 3,500 statewide — at the Thornton sorting center near Denver International Airport, a delivery station in Aurora, an engineering operation in Boulder focused on digital advertising and cloud computing, and several retail stores. It also opened an advertising office last year in Boulder.
The new delivery station will be built on one of two parcels in the Peak Innovation Business Park.
Amazon’s role in the purchase of both parcels was revealed as part of a settlement with Fourth Estate News, which sued the city in 2018 to reveal the buyer’s identity and plans for the site. Fourth Estate was created by Tim Hoiles, a former owner of Freedom Communications, one-time owner of The Gazette.