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Building permit filed with city of Spokane Valley connects Amazon to Project Fireball

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 11, 2021

The company behind Project Fireball, a large distribution facility in Spokane Valley, has remained a mystery for more than four months.

Until now.

While Amazon’s name does not appear on the $150.7 million building permit approved by the city last week for Project Fireball-GEG2, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant was identified in a second permit filed by Plug Power to build the “Amazon GEG2 Hydrogen Project,” at 17205 E. Garland Ave., which is part of the site that will eventually be home to the 1.3 million-square-foot planned distribution facility.

Latham, New York-based Plug Power, founded in 1997, designs and manufacturers hydrogen fuel cell systems that replace lead-acid batteries to power industrial electrical vehicles, such as forklifts used in distribution centers.

Plug Power, which has offices in Rochester, New York, and Spokane, inked an agreement with Amazon in 2017 to utilize its fuel cells and hydrogen technology in the e-commerce company’s fulfillment network. Some of Plug Power’s other customers include BMW, Home Depot and Walmart.

Plug Power plans to build hydrogen storage and refueling infrastructure, including an “outdoor 18K liquid hydrogen tank and equipment pad, and four indoor dispensers” at the Garland Avenue site, according to the permit application.

Plug Power was not immediately available Tuesday for comment on its involvement with Amazon.

Amazon spokeswoman Anne Laughlin declined to comment Tuesday on whether the company was pursuing plans for a distribution center in Spokane Valley, stating, as before, the e-commerce giant doesn’t provide information on its future roadmap.

Speculation about Amazon’s involvement in Project Fireball began in October after grading and foundation permits were filed with the city for the project at 18007 E. Garland Ave.

Amazon is known to use code names in early design phases of its projects, including the company’s West Plains fulfillment center, which was listed as Project Rose in its initial building permit application with Spokane County.

Project Fireball will be built on nearly 80 acres of land owned by Centennial Properties, a subsidiary of the Cowles Co., which also publishes The Spokesman-Review.

Project Fireball also has ties to companies that have worked with Amazon to develop fulfillment center.

Chicago-based Clayco Inc., the contractor listed in documents for Project Fireball, has partnered with Amazon to build more than 17 e-commerce centers nationwide, ranging in size from 500,000 to 1 million square feet, according to Clayco’s website.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted in October to begin a street vacation process, entering into a licensing agreement with Panattoni Development Co. Inc. to redo a portion of Garland Avenue to make way for the development. Panattoni has developed multiple Amazon projects nationwide.

In addition, Amazon was listed as the company behind plans for a large delivery station and warehouse at the former site of Lowe’s Home Improvement in north Spokane, according to a permit filed with the city in January.

More than 200 people will be working at the delivery station, according to project documents.

Amazon also declined to comment on its involvement with the delivery station project, which is identified as DSK2 Amazon on Google Maps.

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