Tuesday, August 8, 2017 5:00 am
Amazon’s sorting center and FedEx Ground’s new distribution warehouse knocked on the city’s door rather than being recruited.
“Both of them are a result of the momentum of the marketplace,” said Kurt Foreman, executive vice president of economic development at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “We want companies to be here, not because we say, ‘Hey, we’ll give you something for it.’”
Amazon is constructing a 300,000-square-foot sorting center at SW 15th Street and Council Road. FedEx Ground Package System Inc.’s new warehouse will measure 270,000 square feet and is being built between NE 150th Street and Memorial Road.
Amazon’s center will be done in the fall and FedEx’s will be complete in July 2018.
Both companies’ spokespeople mentioned the area’s workforce as a reason to come to Oklahoma City. FedEx has a 158,000-square-foot center at 2701 SW 18th St.
Amazon Operations spokeswoman Ashley Robinson said at the company’s hiring day it had more than 350 positions to fill.
“We had more people than we expected,” she said. “I know my colleague was there and he said the response was really positive.”
Amazon has more than 25 sorting centers in the U.S. At each center, purchased items are sorted by ZIP code so they can be delivered, even on Sunday.
She said having the center in the metro will allow for a later cutoff time for delivery. People within about a two-hour drive from the center will get a quicker shipping time.
The closest sorting centers are in Kansas City, Kansas, and Dallas/Fort Worth.
She said there will not be drone delivery from Oklahoma City, though. Amazon Fresh will not ship from the metro’s center, either.
“We’re excited about our first Oklahoma facility,” she said. “We’ve received amazing support from the community.”
Foreman said the FedEx center has shipping and distribution capabilities. Spokeswoman Allie Addoms said in an email that the center will have full- and part-time employees, though the count hasn’t been announced yet.
She said the site in northeast Oklahoma City was chosen because of its proximity to local highways and customers’ distribution centers. She said the new facility is part of a nationwide network to boost package capacity. Since 2005, the company has opened 15 new hubs with advanced material-handling systems. Another 500 facilities have been expanded or relocated.
“The network enhancements have resulted in accelerating ground delivery service by one day or more in two-thirds of the United States,” she said.
Foreman said the two centers and their new construction are good examples of why a city should invest in industrial-ready land. While Oklahoma City has vacant land, it may not have water or sewer, which can add to a company’s relocation costs.
"There’s a difference between having space and having space with utilities and access,” he said. “If someone needed a big site here, it would take a while to figure out the right solution. We need to stay on top of our game and be thinking ahead of where’s the next place that someone may want to go.”