Even before Amazon completes its massive distribution center near the Colorado Springs Airport, the online sales giant appears to be planning at least two more local facilities, according to documents filed with city planners.
The Colorado Springs Airport is seeking approval for construction of a 279,000-square-foot “sortation center” next to Amazon’s delivery station in the airport’s Peak Innovation Park; the center is designated “Project Congo.” While the documents don’t attach the Amazon name to the project, an early version of the plans, since withdrawn by an airport planning contractor, showed a drawing of the facility that included the Amazon name.
Plans also have been filed for a second delivery station inside a former Sam’s Club warehouse on South Academy Boulevard under the name “Project Academy.”
While the proposal for that project doesn’t identify Amazon as the tenant for the former Sam’s property, it describes the planned facility as a “delivery station serving the surrounding neighborhoods.” It also said the facility would be “where customer orders are prepared for last-mile delivery to the surrounding neighborhood,” a description that closely matches how Amazon describes its delivery stations.
Nikki Wheeler, an Amazon spokeswoman, declined via email to comment on either facility but said the company is “constantly evaluating new locations to support its customers and increase the flexibility of its North American fulfillment network.”
Amazon is building a 3.7 million-square-foot fulfillment center in the airport’s Peak Innovation Park, southeast of Powers Boulevard and Milton E. Proby Parkway, 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 complex is scheduled to open in mid-2021 and employ more than 1,000 workers.
The five-story building will be the largest in Colorado Springs and likely the largest 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 area.
Every Amazon fulfillment center delivers completed orders to a sortation center, where packages are routed to a delivery station or Whole Foods store closest to the customer. Amazon says on its website that the centers “sort customer orders by final destination and consolidate them onto trucks for faster delivery.” Amazon’s operates a sortation center in Aurora that serves fulfillment centers in Aurora and Thornton.
The Colorado Springs sortation center would be developed by Charlotte, N.C.-based commercial real estate company SunCap Property Group, which also built a distribution center near the Colorado Springs Airport in 2015 for shipping giant FedEx. Architects’ drawings filed with the city indicate construction of the sortation center is scheduled to begin this fall and last about a year. The building would include parking for 317 employee vehicles and another 319 trucks, according to the filing. A SunCap spokeswoman declined comment, citing a nondisclosure agreement.
The new delivery station would replace the former Sam’s Club, which moved in 2015 to Fountain. Amazon opened its first station, where drivers pick up shipments for delivery to customer homes, about two years ago in a tent south of the airport’s terminal until a permanent facility was completed last year in Peak Innovation Park.
Realty Income Properties, a San Diego real estate investment trust, owns the Sam’s building and four other retail or commercial buildings in 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 Now hub location.