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Friday, December 8, 2023
Dec. 8, 2023

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Amazon lots in east Vancouver remain empty

Company cancels industrial building plans nationwide

By , Columbian staff writer

Two east Vancouver lots owned by e-commerce giant Amazon sit largely empty at present, as the company has either closed or canceled plans to build nearly 100 industrial facilities nationwide.

Amazon bought two properties just south of Fourth Plain Boulevard in 2021. One, located at 6100 N.E. 147th Ave., is set to house an 80,000-square-foot warehouse. The other two parcels that lie on either side of Northeast 59th Street along Northeast 137th Avenue were destined to offset the wetland impacts from the warehouse lot, according to the city of Vancouver’s staff report on the project.

Two years ago, when Amazon bought the properties, the COVID-19 pandemic had driven a surge in e-commerce sales. The company reported a record $14.3 billion in net income at the beginning of 2022. By the end of last summer, Amazon took a $2 billion net loss.

Amazon’s chief financial officer told reporters last year the company was stuck with “too much space.” The company acquired thousands of acres of land during the pandemic when people were flocking to e-commerce websites to shop.

Since then, the company reportedly began subletting warehouse space and renegotiating leases. A survey from MWPVL International, a logistics consultant that tracks Amazon, estimated the Seattle-based company closed or canceled 99 industrial facilities in 30 states.

MWPVL says it expects “similar cutbacks will take place in the rest of the world” in 2023.

According to the city of Vancouver, Amazon had acquired a building permit for its warehouse in 2021, but it’s set to expire Sept. 8. Of course, the company can ask for an extension.

“They have a valid permit,” said Chad Eiken, director for Vancouver’s community development department. The project is not subject to the city’s moratorium.

“There’s no reason from the city’s standpoint that they couldn’t start working,” Eiken said.

A representative from Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the state of its east Vancouver warehouse.

The company has said in its most recent quarterly earnings reports, however, that it aims to expand its fulfillment network.

“We regularly evaluate our facility requirements,” the report reads.

The company’s latest financial report from August showed it had recovered a bit, bringing in $6.7 billion in net income in its second fiscal quarter.

The Vancouver properties do not appear to be for sale or lease.

MWPVL’s report does list an Amazon delivery station in Vancouver set to open in the fourth quarter of 2023 at 5500 N.E. 162nd Ave., a property purchased by Chicago-based Bridge Industrial last year.

A representative from Bridge Industrial’s Seattle office said construction on its Bridge Point Vancouver 600 warehouse began a month ago, but it doesn’t yet have a tenant. That project will have more than 600,000 square feet of warehouse space.

If Amazon’s warehouse property does come together, Eiken said it will be a relatively small warehouse. He expects it to be a smaller sorting station and not one of the company’s large distribution centers.

Eiken said a traffic study was completed for the Amazon property and determined the local roads there did have the capacity to handle the increased truck traffic. He said Amazon usually runs its trucks during nonpeak traffic hours.

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