Amazon is continuing its expansion in the Spokane region with plans to lease an air cargo facility at Spokane International Airport.
West Plains development agency S3R3 Solutions is partnering with the airport to develop the 30,750-square-foot facility with 10 truck docks and nearly 90 parking spaces on the east side of the airport.
The airport is leasing the more than 6-acre site to S3R3 Solutions, which is constructing the building and subleasing space to Amazon Air.
“We look forward to beginning Amazon Air operations at Spokane International Airport,” Karen Riley Sawyer, Amazon spokeswoman, said in an email.
The air cargo facility will be a few miles northeast of Amazon’s 2.6-million-square-foot West Plains fulfillment center at 10010 W. Geiger Blvd., which opened last year.
Amazon Air plays a critical role in transporting items across longer distances in shorter time frames, according to the company.
The cargo facility will be used to transfer parcels from trucks to Amazon Air – or vice versa – for transport between the e-commerce company’s West Plains fulfillment center and other fulfillment centers nationwide, said Todd Coleman, executive director of S3R3 Solutions.
S3R3 Solutions approved a 10-year lease agreement with Amazon at a meeting Thursday. The agreement contains options that would allow the company to potentially extend its lease for the air cargo facility for up to 24 additional years.
Construction of the air cargo facility by S3R3 Solutions would be financed through a $5.26 million lease revenue bond.
Amazon declined to comment on additional details of the project, stating it would release more information at a later date.
The project is anticipated to bring additional jobs to the area, although Amazon and S3R3 Solutions did not specify how many positions would be created.
Amazon likely will have an agreement with a third-party cargo handling partner that would also operate out of building, Coleman said.
Amazon Air leases planes from Atlas Air and Air Cargo Transport Services Group and relies on third-party carriers to operate and fly the aircraft.
In January, Amazon announced it purchased 11 Boeing 767s from Delta and WestJet to meet growing customer demand. Four of the aircraft will join Amazon Air’s cargo network this year, with the remaining seven aircraft scheduled to operate in 2022.
Amazon will continue to rely on third-party carriers to operate the new aircraft, according to the company.
Amazon Air’s fleet addition will lay groundwork for the company’s expansion of next-day delivery and third-party shipments. Amazon Air has expanded its flights in the U.S. by 8% since August and is positioned for another growth spurt this spring, according to a report by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.
The air cargo facility is the latest project in the Spokane area confirmed by Amazon, which is also building a 1.3-million-square-foot fulfillment center in Spokane Valley. When complete, the fulfillment center is expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to the area.
S3R3 Solutions is expecting to break ground on the air cargo facility in April. Amazon is slated to begin operating out of the facility by November, Coleman said.
S3R3 Solutions, formerly the West Plains Airport Area Public Development Authority, was created in 2017 via joint agreements with the city of Spokane, Spokane County and the airport to enhance economic prosperity in the region.
Construction of the air cargo facility illustrates what can be accomplished by working with the Spokane International Airport to support growth and commerce in the region, Coleman said.
“It’s really important for us to showcase that we can take these properties and turn them around to facilities that create jobs in a short period of time,” Coleman said.
“We hope we can find other businesses in the country that are interested in building similar-type facilities.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.