The Colorado Springs Airport wants to sell 88 acres in its business park to an unidentified “Fortune 500 corporation,” according to documents included in the Colorado Springs City Council’s agenda for its meeting next Tuesday.
The vacant land is divided into 18- and 70-acre parcels, both in the southwest corner of the business park along Powers Boulevard south of Milton E Proby Parkway. A presentation included with the documents lists the 18-acre parcel as “Project Jungle,” earmarked for a local warehouse distribution facility, while the 70-acre parcel is listed as “Project Rodeo, envisioned as another warehouse distribution facility.
The proposed land sales come as Amazon has opened a warehouse-distribution facility that employs 300 just north of Milton E Proby Parkway near the airport’s rental car hub.
The presentation says the projects will result in “significant job creation” and will become an “anchor user of Peak Innovation Park (the airport’s business park)” among other economic impacts listed.
Bob Cope, the city’s economic development officer, declined Thursday to comment on the proposed sale of property in the business park, citing a confidentiality agreement with the buyer.
The city’s Airport Advisory Commission asked the council late last month to declare the two parcels and five smaller parcels as “surplus city property” for the two projects. It also wanted to designate five directors of the newly created Peak Metropolitan District as the “logical logical purchaser” for each parcel as required under the city’s code and regulations.
The proposed council resolution in the agenda says development of the planned warehouse distribution facility “enhances the probability of attracting increased air-cargo services at the Airport, and therefore selling the Property to the Purchaser, in particular, creates a strong synergy with the Airport.”
The transaction must be made at “fair market value” and an appraisal is in process, according to the resolution. The deal also must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has “verbally agreed the intended use would be compatible with the Airport” after a meeting about the transaction, the resolution says.
The city wants to form the metropolitan district to issue up to $200 million in bonds to build streets, utilities and other public improvements in the 1,547-acre business park, as well as approximately 1,000 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the airport’s two longest runways. Plans for the business park call for the creation of up to three special districts.
The airport recently leased a large tent at 7704 Milton E Proby Parkway, near its rental car hub, to an organization it has declined to identify, citing a nondisclosure agreement. However, the Pikes Peak Workforce Center held a three-day hiring event in September for Amazon to interview candidates for warehouse/distribution jobs at a facility to be built on airport property. Signs near the tent indicate it is used by Amazon.
Amazon’s posting for the warehouse positions said the workers there would man delivery stations, which it said are “the final stop before an order heads out to the customer’s door.” Other duties for the warehouse positions include working on Amazon’s Prime Now Shopping service from local stores, which allows customers to order online and have items delivered in fewer than two hours. The company began operations in the tent on Wednesday.
Craig Anderson, a veteran commercial real estate broker with NAI Highland in Colorado Springs, said last month he didn’t know details of Amazon’s plans for the city, but speculated that the tent would allow the company to launch operations in the Springs while it builds a permanent distribution center nearby.
Amazon employs more than 2,000 in the Denver area. Operations include a sorting center near Denver International Airport, distribution centers in Aurora and Thornton, an engineering operation in Boulder focused on digital advertising and cloud computing, and a retail store at Park Meadows mall.
Denver also is among 20 finalists for the online retailing giant’s second headquarters.
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