By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

Amazon made it all official

Company’s newest fulfillment center could employ 1,500

 

January 3, 2019

Arguably one of the worst-kept secrets in the local business world charged into the open on June 20.

That’s when Amazon pulled the thinly-veiled curtain back on Project Rose, now officially known as the online giant’s latest fulfillment center which will be built along Interstate 90 and Geiger Blvd.

A massive earth moving project has been in progress at the site for over a month for what will ultimately be a four-story, 2.5 million square-foot facility, initially targeted to employ 1,500 people, but maybe to eventually have double that in two shifts.

“We’re excited to open a new, state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Spokane and to continue innovating in our home state,” Mark Stewart, Amazon’s Vice President of North America Customer Fulfillment said in a news release.

The project is being developed by Trammell Crow Company and was made possible by Greater Spokane Incorporated, The West Plains/Airport Public Development Authority, Spokane County and Spokane International Airport.

“Amazon’s decision to build their new facility format in our community validates the innovative vision of leaders from Spokane County, the City of Spokane and Spokane International Airport to create the first County-City PDA in the state,” Larry Krauter, that organization’s chairman said in a news release.


The official announcement ended a busy several months of behind-the-scenes work according to Spokane county Commissioner Al French.

“We started working on it the first week of January,” French said. “It’s nice to see that finally come to fruition.”

And Amazon might just be the beginning, French said.

“That’s the first of four (projects), there’s three others behind them,” French said, noting he was unable to disclose further information on these additional projects currently in the negotiation stages. “We haven’t gone public yet, but they’re in the mix,” he added.

That does not include what French said were about a dozen other businesses that typically follow construction of an Amazon fulfillment center.

With the official announcement, Amazon’s next step, French said, is reaching to local businesses and see if they can provide a variety of services.

“If they can’t find them here already then they’ll bring some of these companies in to help make sure they have the support mechanism to help them do what they do,” French said.

When complete the building will be the largest in Spokane County and occupy 2 ½ times the footprint of the Northtown Mall.

“Amazon will be one of the largest businesses in the Spokane region, with an anticipated 1,800-3,000 new jobs,” Todd Mielke, CEO, Greater Spokane Incorporated said in a news release. “It’s significant for the Spokane community to be home to a company that is in the top ten list of Fortune 500 companies.”


With current transportation infrastructure pinched by growth, promise of Amazon and others locating to the West Plains means road and highway projects originally earmarked for 2020 will be fast-tracked, French said.

“One of the things we were able to do in partnership with WSDOT (Washington State Department of Transportation) and the governor (Jay Inslee) was the improvements to (State Route) 902 at the Medical Lake and Geiger interchanges,” French said.

Originally not scheduled to begin until 2020, the projects, which include roundabouts and widening of overpasses, will move up a year and be finished by the end of 2019.

Amazon currently employs more than 50,000 people across the state at its headquarters in Seattle and facilities supporting customer fulfillment in DuPont, Kent and Sumner.

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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