Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Oct. 19, 2021

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Building planned in east Vancouver; tenant unknown

Project’s developer has built Amazon distribution facilities

By , Columbian business reporter
Published:
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A developer has submitted a preliminary application to construct a roughly 600,000-square-foot warehouse with multiple truck loading bays in east Vancouver. There is no listed tenant lined up for the property, but the project bears some of the hallmarks of a potential Amazon distribution facility.

The project would be located on a roughly 77-acre site on the west side of Northeast 162nd Avenue, about a half-mile south of the intersection with Fourth Plain Boulevard. The surrounding area to the south of Fourth Plain Boulevard has been developing rapidly, with a number of major industrial additions either recently built or in planning.

The pre-application forms, submitted to the city in May, describe either a 560,000- or 620,000-square-foot, tilt-up concrete building between 45 and 55 feet tall, with loading docks along the north and south sides and two 40-foot-wide access points to the street.

A site diagram lists 469 parking spaces and 110 truck docks. One of the application documents states “access will be an issue” and that the applicant seeks to widen 162nd Avenue next to the site to add turning lanes.

The packet lists the builder as industrial real estate and development company Bridge Industrial, which is headquartered in Chicago and operates a regional office in Bellevue.

Tuan Luu of Beaverton, Ore.-based Mildren Design Group, which is serving as the architect for the project, said the development is still in the planning stages but is tentatively aiming to start construction in spring 2022.

The planning phase involves a traffic study, he said, because the project will need to account for a city plan to eventually extend Northeast 59th Street from Northeast 147th Avenue to Northeast 162nd Avenue, passing near the north end of the site.

The project’s development comes amid rumors that Amazon is eyeing Vancouver as a potential site for a new company facility. The pre-application packet describes it as a speculative development, meaning there is no tenant officially lined up. Vancouver Economic Development Director Chad Eiken said there was no hint about Amazon during the pre-application meeting with city staff.

However, there are aspects of the project that fit the profile of an Amazon warehouse. For starters, it wouldn’t be the first time the shipping giant has leased a warehouse built by Bridge Industrial.

The media section on Bridge’s website includes a link to a July story on a Chicago-area real estate news site reporting that Amazon leased a 500,000-square-foot distribution center in an industrial park built by Bridge Industrial in Waukegan.

Another story linked on Bridge’s site references Amazon leasing two Bridge-built suburban warehouses near Chicago in August 2020, and a third reports an October 2020 sale of a warehouse near Los Angeles from Bridge Industrial to Realterm US, and mentions that Amazon would lease the space.

Reached by phone, Bridge Industrial’s Kyle Siekawitch acknowledged the company has leased sites to Amazon in the past, but said the Vancouver project was a speculative development and declined to comment further.

Amazon’s media department did not reply to an email requesting comment.

The size of the proposed warehouse also makes it a notably large project by Vancouver standards, and it fits some of the operations center profiles that Amazon outlines on its website.

Fulfillment centers, where Amazon employees pick and pack orders, are described as being about 800,000 square feet, but “non-sortable” fulfillment centers, which focus on bulkier items, can range from 600,000 to 1 million square feet.

“Receive centers,” which help allocate and distribute inventory to fulfillment centers, are described as being about 600,000 square feet. The company’s Troutdale, Ore., fulfillment center, which opened in 2018, is 855,000 square feet.

Columbian business reporter
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