Amazon's massive distribution and sorting center adjacent to the Colorado Springs Airport is on schedule for a mid-2021 opening, with structural steel nearly complete and work starting on the roof, a company spokeswoman said this week.

The Seattle-based online giant is building a 3.7 million-square-foot complex in the airport's Peak Innovation Park 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. The center is adjacent to a delivery station Amazon opened last year to make deliveries to customers in the  Springs area.

Anne Laughlin, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the project is "on schedule" and the company plans to begin hiring more than 1,000 workers for the center about two months before it opens. The company hasn't posted any jobs at the center on its employment website ( but will do so once it begins hiring. Potential employees can sign up on the site for text alerts that will be sent when jobs in the Colorado Springs area are posted.

The five-story building will be the largest in Colorado Springs, and likely in Colorado; it is larger than the combined size of the Air Force Academy's Fairchild Hall and The Citadel and Chapel Hills malls. Amazon fulfillment centers are designed to make same-day deliveries to the surrounding area, while Whole Foods stores and small delivery stations handle one- and two-hour deliveries to Amazon Prime customers in the immediate area.

Amazon announced plans Tuesday to spend $1.4 billion expanding tech hubs in Denver and five other cities and hire another 100 in Denver and 3,400 employers in the other cities, mostly in New York, Dallas and Phoenix. More than 700 people work in Amazon's downtown Denver tech hub supporting Amazon's web services, Alexa, advertising, fashion, food and operations. The company employs 10,500 across the state and has spent more than $2.8 billion expanding its Colorado operations. The Colorado Springs project is part of Amazon's plan to expand its logistics facilities by 50% this year.

The Amazon center is among several projects underway or recently completed in and around the airport:

• The National Museum of World War II Aviation opened a 40,000-square-foot expansion last month called the Kaija Raven Shook Aeronautical Pavilion that has allowed it to display more vintage aircraft. The $6 million project was financed with grants from the Slattery Family Foundation, headed by Jim Slattery, a vintage aviation buff who donated 16 vintage aircraft to the museum, and by El Pomar Foundation, the Gates Foundation and the Anschutz Foundation. A 40,000-square-foot addition to the pavilion is planned and fundraising is underway.

• The U.S. Forest Service opened a temporary regional firefighting base last week at the airport that will allow air tankers to load retardant to battle fires in five states and parts of 10 others. The $20 million base, which is now being used to load DC-10 and other large tankers with retardant to fight several fires on the Western Slope, will  next year include offices, a storage building for retardant, an area where retardant will be mixed and seven stations to load the retardant onto waiting aircraft.

• A fourth hangar and for Sierra Nevada Corp. is under construction at the airport and the $7.5 million, 30,000-square-foot project is scheduled to open late next month or early October. The company's Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance unit, based in Centennial, employs about 230 people at three other nearby hangars to modify structural, avionics, sensors and other components under several Department of Defense contracts to support the global war on terror.

• The COS Owners Association is finishing a 20,000-square-foot addition to its 136,000-square-foot hangar condominium complex that houses Trine Aerospace and several privately owned hangars.

• California-based defense and security research nonprofit Aerospace Corp. announced plans last month for a $100 million research and development facility at the Colorado Springs Airport that will employ 200 people. That complex is adjacent to a 78,000-square-foot building opened in 2007 that employs 240 engineers, scientists, analysts and cybersecurity specialists.

Meanwhile, construction of two hotels, a 130-room Courtyard by Marriott and a similar-sized Residence Inn or equivalent Marriott brand that are planned near the airport's passenger terminal, has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Greg Phillips, aviation manager for the city of Colorado Springs, which owns the airport.

Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234



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