Amazon is prime on Aurora’s real estate

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Officials from the world’s largest online retailer seem to think Aurora offers plenty in the way of prime real estate.

Amazon.com announced another major facility for Aurora this week, this one a million-square-foot fulfillment center expected to employ more than 1,000 people.

The announcement comes on the heels of Amazon opening a 452,000-square-foot “sortation facility” at 19799 East 36th Drive in Majestic Commercenter last year. That site employs hundreds and is already operating.

“We are excited to create 1,000 new full-time jobs in Colorado that pay 30 percent higher than traditional retail jobs and receive comprehensive benefits starting on day one,” Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s vice president of North America Operations, said in a statement announcing the plan.

The company said employees at the center “will pick, pack and ship larger customer items, such as sports equipment, musical instruments and furniture.”

Ashley Robinson, a spokeswoman for the company, said work has already begun on the new facility near Smith Way and East 19th Ave.

“The fulfillment center should be operating by the holiday shopping season,” she said in an email.

The new site is in Prologis Park 70, close to the northwest corner of Interstate 70 and E-470. That corridor has proven popular in recent years for big businesses — including Walmart, GM and now Amazon with a second spot on the corridor — looking to take advantage of the quick access to highways and nearby Denver International Airport.

Yuriy Gorlov, business development manager for the Aurora Economic Development Council, said the area not only offers quick access to the interstate and airport, it’s also less congested than industrial areas closer to the center of the metro area.

If companies want both access to transportation and ample space, Gorlov said they are consistently finding it in Aurora.

While the Amazon project is one of several other massive distribution and warehouse facilities to come to the area in just the past couple years, Gorlov said there is still plenty of space to add even more. Open and ready-to-develop space along the corridor is not running out any time soon, he said.

“In terms of land definitely not, I think there is plenty more land to go around for everybody,” he said.

Last year, about 2.3 million square feet of industrial space came on line in the city, he said. This Amazon deal almost equals half of that, and Gorlov said he anticipates another two million or so square feet on tap for 2017.

Wayne Barrett, market officer for Prologis Denver, said Amazon’s arrival is exciting. The company already has a presence at Prologis sites around the country, he said, and the Aurora deal had been in the works for quite a while.

Amazon’s facility will be the biggest tenant at the Aurora park, Barrett said, and bring them to about 4 million square feet. Eventually, they expect to have about 6 million square feet of industrial space. Amazon’s second Aurora facility was heralded by state officials this week.

“It’s always great news when a company as innovative as Amazon makes an investment in Colorado,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in the statement. “The company’s announcement of a second facility and many more jobs for our state is something to celebrate. We are thrilled Amazon has discovered our talented workforce here in Colorado and we look forward to our ongoing partnership.”

Aurora officials also cheered the deal.

“We knew Amazon coming to Aurora meant the creation of great jobs for this community and the arrival of a strong corporate neighbor,” Mayor Steve Hogan said in the statement. “Our community has already benefited from their presence here and the announcement of a second facility is very exciting because it means continued economic growth in Aurora and the surrounding communities.”

Aurora Economic Development Council President and CEO Wendy Mitchell said in the statement the deal is another sign of the city’s business-friendly environment.

“The City of Aurora’s expedited permitting process was key to this project. I’m thrilled Amazon has chosen to expand its operations here and I am grateful to have Amazon as a corporate partner who is committed to providing our talented workforce with quality jobs,” she said.