NAMPA — The “Project Bronco” development rumored to be an Amazon fulfillment center in Nampa is just that, the company announced Thursday.
The 650,000-square-foot center is set to open in 2020 and create more than 1,000 full-time jobs, according to a Business Wire press release, distributed through the Associated Press.
The development was classified under the name “Project Bronco” in city documents for over a year. The Idaho Press first reported plans about the development in the summer of 2018. When the conditional use permit was approved in July 2018, the facility was estimated to be 850,000 square feet with staffing of more than 2,000 people.
The fulfillment center will be on the southwest corner of East Franklin Road and Star Road in northeast Nampa, near the Ford Idaho Center and the Sorrento Lactalis cheese factory. Amazon is partnering with Pannotoni Development Co. Inc. on construction.
Nampa Economic Development Director Beth Ineck said the developer plans to invest a minimum of $130 million on the project.
“Amazon is committed to creating a positive economic impact in Nampa and enhancing the customer experience throughout the region,” Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment, said in the news release.
Amazon is ranked fifth on the Fortune 500 list of top companies across the globe. Last year, Amazon brought in over $232 billion in revenue, and employed more than 647,000 people.
Amazon is slated to be Nampa’s largest employer. Currently, that title goes to Walmart, Ineck said, which employs 800 to 900 people.
In March, developers announced delays of 12 to 18 months for Project Bronco. Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling told the Idaho Press Thursday the delay was related to two other fulfillment centers Amazon was working on in other states. She confirmed that plans were back on track and construction will begin immediately.
In the Business Wire release, Kling thanked Amazon for choosing Nampa.
“Their investment in local transportation improvements and a competitive employment package represents a significant opportunity for our community,” she said. “The City of Nampa will do everything we can to support the expedited construction timeline and we look forward to being part of the Amazon family.”
Kling said Nampa is not giving Amazon any tax breaks for the development, nor is the state of Idaho, to her knowledge. She said Amazon will pay lower impact fees than newer developments, because the project was in the works before Nampa City Council increased the city’s impact fee rates this year.
Amazon’s investment in the surrounding infrastructure, Kling said, will more than make up the difference in the lower impact fees. Nampa City Council has a memorandum of understanding with the Amazon developer, solidifying each party’s responsibility for dozens of traffic projects through 2030.
A traffic impact study on the development by Thompson Engineers estimated the development would require as many as eight new roundabouts or traffic signals and six new intersections by 2030. The report projected Amazon would generate 7,000 vehicle trips a day during peak operating season.
Amazon will fulfill customer orders such as books, electronics and toys from the fulfillment center, according to the news release.
The company will pay for up to 95% of tuition for employees in courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon, the release states. Since the program’s launch, over 25,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology.
“Amazon’s investment in Nampa will add job opportunities for our citizens and create a ripple effect of economic activity throughout the region,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little said in the news release. “The investment demonstrates that Idaho’s workforce and economy continue to attract the ideas and businesses that thrive in a knowledge-based economy. We are proud that Amazon chose Idaho to expand and do business.”
The Nampa Planning and Zoning Commission on July 10, 2018, granted a conditional use permit for Project Bronco, which at the time was described as an 850,000-square-foot warehouse distribution center on 111 acres. At that time, Ineck said in a project report that the development was expected to generate more than $1 million a year in tax revenue for the city.
Amazon last year announced a $15 minimum wage for all U.S. employees. Andrew Luther, the general manager for the Ford Idaho Center, said he’s aware this could draw some of the part-time employees the Idaho Center typically hires. But he said he hopes that the Idaho Center and Amazon won’t have too much overlap in their peak business hours, as the most busy times for the center take place at night and on the weekends.