Canyon County

Amazon’s Nampa center will increase traffic, so city wants it to pay for road upgrades

Take a sneak peek inside an Amazon fulfillment center

The Amazon U.S. fulfillment network consists of more than 50 fulfillment centers, over 20 sortation centers and more than 90,000 full-time employees. Have a look around.
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The Amazon U.S. fulfillment network consists of more than 50 fulfillment centers, over 20 sortation centers and more than 90,000 full-time employees. Have a look around.

When the development thought to be an Amazon fulfillment center goes up in Nampa, it will have a major impact not only on jobs, but also traffic. But to mitigate the effects, the city is asking the developer to pay up.

The Nampa City Council on Tuesday authorized an agreement with the project’s developer, who will fund $14 million in payments and roadway improvements aimed at alleviating the increased traffic expected when construction ends.

The agreement is the work of half a year’s worth of negotiations among the city, the Nampa Highway District, the Idaho Transportation Department and the developer, said Nampa Economic Development Director Beth Ineck. The developer is Panattoni Development Co. Inc. of Newport Beach, California, which has worked with Amazon on other projects.

“They more than stepped up to the plate with their contributions to the city,” she said.

With an estimated 3,000 employees, the fulfillment center — which city officials call “Project Bronco” — could generate about 7,000 trips per day during the peak delivery season, including an estimated 358 truck trips, according to a traffic impact study. The fulfillment center will have 2.6 million square feet, about the size of 15 Walmart Supercenters.

The $14 million will be just a fraction of the overall cost of the $130 million project. Work on the foundation of the fulfillment center alone is expected to cost $7.4 million, the Idaho Press reported.

Amazon site in Nampa wheat w Lactalis in background 7-11-18 rightside up IMG-2543.jpg
Wheat grows in July 2018 in a field that is planned to become part of the site of Project Bronco, the cover name for what is believed to be a giant Amazon fulfillment center. This site is at the southwest corner of Franklin and Star roads in Nampa. Lactalis American Group’s cheese plant is in the background. David Staats

The developer is allocating most of its construction funds to road improvements near the 62-acre project site, which is located southwest of the intersection of Star and Franklin roads. It will include $3.8 million in upgrades to the Franklin and Robinson Road frontages and $2.7 million to create a traffic signal at the intersection of Franklin and Star. It will also include funds for other intersections along Franklin and Idaho Center Boulevard.

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.

Although plans for Project Bronco have been underway for months, the developer has still not closed on the property. If the developer decides it won’t finish its Nampa project, that would mean Project Bronco is off the hook for the road improvements as well. But, if the developer backs out in the midst of road improvements, it would be responsible for completing the improvements or reverting the roads to their original state, according to a memorandum of understanding that the City Council authorized Tuesday night.

The deal nets the city more funds than it would receive through impact fees, the usual levies on development that help to pay for cities’ growing pains. Because it is paying for road improvements, Project Bronco will not pay any impact fees to the city for streets, which would have totaled far less: $262,363. It will pay an estimated $370,000 in other impact fees to the city.

Of the $14 million, an estimated $7 million will be spent by the developer and $5.5 million by the city for its related street improvements, with $1.5 million in contingency funds.

City officials won’t say what “Project Bronco” in Nampa is, but the developer, Panattoni, is behind Amazon fulfilment centers around the country.

More money could be on the table soon. Project Bronco is looking to leverage Nampa’s funding to unlock further opportunities for state funds. Ineck said that the city is in talks to offer $250,000 of Nampa impact fees to infrastructure improvements for the project, which would help it unlock an additional $350,000 from the Idaho Department of Commerce.

The resulting state grants could help to fund construction for a westbound offramp for Highway 16, a corridor that would benefit both Project Bronco and residents, said City Engineer Daniel Badger.

Ineck said Nampa arranged a similar deal between the state and GoGo squeeZ when the fruit-snack company brought one of its factories to Nampa. But the details of a similar arrangement with Project Bronco are still coming together, Ineck said.

This article has been corrected. A previous version misidentified who would be responsible for reverting roads back to their original condition if the developer starts upgrades but does not finish them. Also, Project Bronco will pay impact fees, but not for streets.

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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.