A Fortune 500 company wants to build two warehouse-distribution centers near the Colorado Springs Airport employing a “significant” number of people, according to documents included in the agenda for Tuesday’s Colorado Springs City Council meeting.
The Colorado Springs Airport wants to sell 88 acres in its business park to an unidentified “Fortune 500 corporation” for a pair of warehouse-distribution facilities, according to a resolution on the council’s agenda.
The resolution doesn’t identify the company, and city officials declined Thursday to comment, citing a nondisclosure agreement with the company.
The vote comes just days after online retail giant Amazon opened a temporary delivery station that employs 300 in a large tent just north of Milton E. Proby Parkway near the airport’s rental car hub. The company began training workers at the station Wednesday and will ramp up operations throughout the holiday season, said Amanda Ip, an Amazon spokeswoman in Seattle.
The vacant land is divided into 18- and 70-acre parcels in the southwest corner of the business park along Powers Boulevard south of Milton E Proby Parkway. A presentation included with the documents lists the 18-acre parcel as “Project Jungle,” earmarked for a local warehouse distribution facility, while the 70-acre parcel is listed as “Project Rodeo, envisioned as another warehouse distribution facility.
The presentation says the projects will result in “significant job creation” and will become an “anchor user of Peak Innovation Park (the airport’s business park),” among other economic impacts listed.
Bob Cope, the city’s economic development officer, declined to comment Thursday on the proposed sale of property in the business park, citing a confidentiality agreement with the buyer.
The city’s Airport Advisory Commission asked the council late last month to declare the two parcels and five smaller parcels as “surplus city property” for the two projects. It also wanted to designate five directors of the newly created Peak Metropolitan District as the “logical potential purchaser” for each parcel, as required under the city’s code and regulations.
The proposed council resolution in the agenda says development of the planned warehouse distribution facility “enhances the probability of attracting increased air-cargo services at the Airport, and therefore selling the Property to the Purchaser, in particular, creates a strong synergy with the Airport.”
The transaction must be made at “fair market value” and an appraisal is in process, according to the resolution. The deal also must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, which “verbally agreed the intended use would be compatible with the Airport” after a meeting about the transaction, the resolution says.
The city wants to form the metropolitan district to issue up to $200 million in bonds to build streets, utilities and other public improvements in the 1,547-acre business park, as well as approximately 1,000 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the airport’s two longest runways. Plans for the business park call for the creation of up to three special districts.
Amazon opened the temporary station at the airport as the final step in delivering merchandise to customers through either companies or individuals under contract to make deliveries for Amazon, said Ip, the Amazon spokeswoman. The station employs part- and full-time seasonal and permanent workers, she said.
“We are excited to be in Colorado and Colorado Springs. Our goal is get merchandise to customers faster. So when we are looking at demand, it really is about where our customers are.”
Craig Anderson, a veteran commercial real estate broker with NAI Highland in Colorado Springs, said last month he didn’t know details of Amazon’s plans for the city, but speculated that the tent would allow the company to launch operations in the Springs while it builds a permanent distribution center nearby.
Ip declined to comment on any Amazon connection to the two airport parcels.
Amazon employs more than 2,000 in the Denver area. Operations include a sorting center near Denver International Airport, a distribution center in Thornton, another delivery station in Aurora, an engineering operation in Boulder focused on digital advertising and cloud computing, and a retail store at Park Meadows mall.
Denver also is among 20 finalists for the online retailing giant’s second headquarters.
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