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Amazon makes it official: Nampa’s ‘Project Bronco’ is a fulfillment center — and it’s coming fast

The open secret is secret no longer.

Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday made it official: That big building planned for a Nampa cornfield and dubbed “Project Bronco” will be an Amazon fulfillment center, the first in Idaho.

The $130 million center, at the southeast corner of Star and Franklin roads, will open next year and employ more than 1,000 full-time workers making at least $15 an hour with health insurance, up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave, and other benefits, Amazon said in a news release. Previously, local officials had suggested that the center might bring as many as 3,000 jobs.

The building will be much smaller than previously anticipated, too: 650,000 square feet, down from 2.6 million.

Opening in 2020 will require some fast construction work. “The city of Nampa will do everything we can to support the expedited construction timeline,” Mayor Debbie Kling said in the Amazon news release.

Construction will begin “immediately,” wrote the mayor’s spokeswoman, Amy Bowman, in an email to the Statesman.

“Amazon’s investment in Nampa will add job opportunities for our citizens and create a ripple effect of economic activity throughout the region,” Idaho Governor Brad Little said in the release.

Amazon will fulfill customer orders such as books, electronics and toys from the distribution center.

The center is being developed in partnership with Pannotoni Development Co. Inc. Amazon had not officially acknowledged publicly that the planned center is the company’s, though a spokesman tacitly acknowledged that it was in an email to the Statesman last April. The project was code-named “Project Bronco” when it came to light last year, and that’s how city officials faithfully referred to it until now.

In February, the Nampa City Council authorized an agreement with Pannotoni, which will fund $14 million in roadway improvements aimed at alleviating the increased traffic the center will bring. The distribution center was previously estimated to generate about 7,000 trips per day during peak delivery season.

“They more than stepped up to the plate with their contributions to the city,” the city’s economic development director, Beth Ineck, previously told the Statesman.

In return for the $14 million, the city agreed to “cooperate with the developer,” which could include expediting the plan review, permitting process and inspections of the road improvements and the fulfillment center, according to the agreement.

Kling said in an email that the city is not providing any economic development incentives for the project beyond the agreements stipulated in the roadway improvements agreement.

Amazon previously raised the possibility of economic development incentives with Idaho Department of Commerce. But the company was not awarded any, said Marketing and Innovation Administrator Matt Borud by phone.

In March, Kling said the project was delayed and that she hoped Amazon would begin construction in 12 to 18 months.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Kate reports on West Ada and Canyon County for the Idaho Statesman. She previously wrote for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Providence Business News. She has been published in The Atlantic and BuzzFeed News. Kate graduated from Brown University with a degree in urban studies.
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