Project Bronco

A rendering shows an 850,000-square-foot distribution warehouse proposed for "Project Bronco" in Nampa. Amazon confirmed Thursday, Oct. 10, that it would open its first fulfillment center in Idaho at the site, to be 650,000 square feet and completed in 2020.

We still don’t know for certain that an Amazon distribution center is coming to Nampa, but most indications look like that’s the case.

As reported first in the Idaho Press, a developer who builds Amazon distribution centers all over the country has applied to build an 850,000-square-foot warehouse on 111 acres on the southwest corner of East Franklin Road and Star Road in northeast Nampa, near the Ford Idaho Center and the Lactalis cheese factory. These are similar specifications for other Amazon distribution centers going up around the country. Plus, the bottom of the application filed with the city listed the project name as “PREDEV — Amazon.”

Last week, the developer said the warehouse would function as a distribution center, mostly for smaller packages, and that peak season would be around the holidays.

Well, if it isn’t an Amazon distribution center, it’s going to be something awfully close.

The benefits are many.

The developer last week said the center could employ as many as 2,000 people. We’re a little skeptical of that figure, as we’ve seen other Amazon distribution centers of this size employ more in the range of 700 to 900. Regardless, more jobs for local residents is good for the local economy.

The location is ideal. It’s right next to Interstate 84, nestled among other factories and industrial uses and far away from houses. Vehicles coming into the center and leaving the center aren’t going to be hauling through residential areas or on two-lane farm roads.

It would generate tax revenue. Nampa economic development director Beth Ineck said the center is expected to generate more than $1 million a year in tax revenue.

Customer service. For those who use amazon.com to do a little shopping, the prospect of same-day delivery has quite a bit of appeal. It’s another sign that the Treasure Valley is coming into its own as a metropolitan center.

The concerns are also many.

Even though the location is ideal from a transportation perspective, we’re still concerned about wear and tear on the roads and whether the expected tax revenue will be able to cover the expenses that would be associated with road repair and even expansion.

Wages are also a concern for us. Whether it’s 700 jobs or 2,000 jobs, if they’re all minimum wage jobs at $7.25 an hour, we’re afraid that’s not going to be a tremendous boost to our economy.

Watch out for those tax breaks. In our rush to get an “Amazon” sign on the side of a building next to I-84 in Nampa, let’s not rush to give away the store in the form of all sorts of state and county tax breaks to bring them here. With entry-level wages, wear and tear on the roads and increased traffic, cutting back on tax revenue might not be worth it.

In the end, we welcome an Amazon distribution center for its many benefits. But we’ll be watching out for the potential problems.

Our editorials are based on the majority opinions of our editorial board. Not all opinions are unanimous. Members of the board are Publisher Matt Davison and community members Buzz Beauchamp, Nicole Bradshaw, Rex Hanson, John Jolley and Kathleen Tuck. Editor Scott McIntosh is a nonvoting member.

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