Amazon to open ‘last mile’ warehouse in Fresno, bringing 550 jobs. Here’s what it will do
Online retail giant Amazon is expanding its sizable footprint in Fresno with plans to open a “last mile” warehouse in the eastern part of the city south of Fresno Yosemite International Airport. According to development plans and permit applications filed last year with the city, Seefried Industrial Properties is building a 183,000-square-foot warehouse that will serve as a delivery station – one final stop for packages before they are delivered to customers. The facility is reportedly expected to open in the second half of this year and will operate around the clock with as many as 550 employees.
The site covers about 43 acres at the southwest corner of Olive and Clovis avenues, near the former Sunnyside Drive-In movie theater. The old drive-in property is bounded on the south and west by the Amazon property, according to Fresno zoning maps. HIghway 180 runs along the south side of the Amazon site. Fresno City Councilmember Tyler Maxwell, whose Council District 4 included the site until newly redrawn districts took effect this year, confirmed to The Bee on Wednesday that the project was indeed being built for Amazon. From the time that the first development applications were filed almost a year ago, Maxwell said the nature of the project was kept “pretty hush hush” by both the developer and the city manager’s office.
“Trying to find out more information had been difficult,“ Maxwell said. “My staff had to dig to find out who was behind the fictitious business name, and of course it was Amazon.” In both development applications and in various building permit documents, the project has been described as a “warehouse and distribution facility” or “delivery station” amounting to about 161,000 square feet of warehouse space and about 22,000 square feet of offices and support space. “Delivery stations power the last mile of the tenant’s order fulfillment process and help speed up delivery for customers,” Seefried Industrial representatives stated in a permit application last year.
The developer noted that the site will have parking for more than 1,600 cars and vans, in addition to 12 trailer parking spaces. The building itself will include 17 loading-dock doors. Amazon opened a massive, 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center at the southern edge of Fresno in mid-2018, eventually ramping up its hiring to about 2,500 workers by last year. Since opening, construction has commenced on a nearby second large fulfillment center for Amazon, at 470,000 square feet, after the city of Fresno reached a settlement with residents who objected to the growing number of distribution centers in their south Fresno neighborhood. The company is also stepping up its partnerships with a cadre of “last mile” delivery partners – companies that contract with Amazon for delivery of packages to customers’ doors. The last-mile warehouses serve as an intermediate stop for packages between larger fulfillment centers and customers, providing a final sorting stop where drivers collect packages for delivery.