Business

This Nampa site may house an Amazon distribution center, bringing 'thousands' of jobs

This artist’s rendering is part of an application for a distribution center in Nampa that appears to be for Amazon. The center would be built on the southwest corner of East Franklin and Star roads north of Interstate 84.
This artist’s rendering is part of an application for a distribution center in Nampa that appears to be for Amazon. The center would be built on the southwest corner of East Franklin and Star roads north of Interstate 84.

Nampa might soon get an enormous Amazon distribution center that its developer says could bring "thousands of jobs" to the city.

Local officials aren't talking, but a permit application filed by a developer that Amazon uses lists "PREDEV - Amazon BTS" on an invoice the city issued for a filing fee.

The developer says the project would create "thousands of jobs for residents of the city as well as increase the city's tax revenues, resulting in more essential services for the city's residents."

Panattoni Development Co. Inc., of Sacramento, proposes building a two-story, 850,000-square-foot distribution center and warehouse. That's roughly the size of five Walmart Supercenters or two Eighth & Main buildings.

Panattoni applied June 15 for a conditional use permit to start construction on the project, which it calls Project Bronco, at Franklin and Star roads in north Nampa, not far from a Walmart and the Idaho Center Auto Mall. It is southwest of Sorrento Lactalis' cheese plant.

Amazon has been building distribution centers around the country for years to support its growing online sales business. But the centers actually drag down average wages for warehouse and distribution workers in many of the counties where they're built, according to a January article in The Economist, a British magazine.

The average worker in a Treasure Valley shipping, receiving and traffic clerk job earns $14.52 an hour or $30,193 a year, according to the latest Idaho occupational survey data, released last month. The average stock clerk or order filler earns $13.05 per hour, or $27,138 per year.

"Amazon offers its full-time employees health care, retirement savings plans and company shares," The Economist wrote. "Such generous perks may explain why the company pays below-market wages."

An email to Amazon seeking comment Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned. Nor were a call and email to a Panattoni representative. The Statesman also attempted unsuccessfully to reach the site's property owner. Nampa's economic development director, Beth Ineck, said, "I cannot provide any information on who the tenant for the development may be."

Panattoni's application said the site is less than a mile from Interstate 84 and provides convenient access for employees and shipments. The developer said it plans to use "modern and attractive concrete tilt panels" for the building, with landscaping on the site.

"Site beautification provided by the project will improve on the industrial character of the area as a whole and benefit the city," the developer said.

The application was first reported by the Idaho Press in Nampa. The Nampa Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the application on Tuesday, July 10.

Business Editor David Staats contributed. Ruth Brown: 208-377-6207, @RuthBrownNews
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