Amazon.com Inc. has multiple major developments in the works in Mesa.
One of the world’s largest and most valuable companies is spending millions of dollars on at least three new warehouse projects near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airports.
In December, according to Maricopa County records, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) closed on two large properties totaling about 114 acres, costing the company a total of $35 million. There is also a proposed 2.9 million-square-foot fulfillment center project in the same area that appears to be another Amazon development.
All three of the projects are within less than an eight-mile drive of each other.
The retail giant already has a major presence in the Valley and the state, with more than 20,000 employees across Arizona. In the Valley, Amazon has a handful of warehouses, distribution centers and offices and the company recently announced it plans to hire an additional 550 people in Tempe and has already expanded its office footprint in a brand-new office tower there.
As the Valley’s population grows, the local demand for e-commerce, which Amazon is the industry’s leader, should grow as well. The Southeast Valley is one of the country’s hottest industrial markets right now, and land and warehouse space near the Gateway Airport in Mesa is going quickly. It makes sense for Amazon to get as much as it can.
“Amazon is a dynamic business and we are constantly exploring new locations and weighing a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future site to best serve customers,” said Zoe Richmond, an Amazon spokeswoman. “The purchase in Mesa provides us with the flexibility to quickly respond to our future network needs.”
In December, Amazon purchased 71 acres at Pecos Road just west of Signal Butte Road in Mesa for more than $18 million, according to county records. In the fall of 2021, Mesa City Council approved annexing this specific parcel into Mesa city limits and approved zoning changes for a development nicknamed “Project Cork.”
According to city records the “tenant’s use of the building is for sorting and forwarding of pre-assembled packages for local delivery and where individual parcels are temporarily stored prior to delivery.”
It appears that Amazon will use the proposed 701,572-square-foot building facility as last-mile delivery hub. The company will fulfill orders, assemble and package them at another site and then will use this site for sorting packages by zip codes “for transport to final destination via box trucks or vans.”
Ryan Cos. is developing Project Cork and Ohio-based Ford & Associates is the architect for the development.
Amazon also bought close to 43 acres from Bright International Corp. for just under $17 million in December, according to data from real estate database Vizzda. This property is located right next to the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAP) data center on the south side of Elliot Road, west of Signal Butte Road. According to Vizzda, a 180,000-square-foot distribution center is proposed on the site. Amazon and the city of Mesa’s economic development office would not elaborate more on what is planned for this site.
Amazon also appears to be building a nearly 3 million-square-foot fulfillment center in the same area of town as these two developments on the north side of Pecos Road between Sossaman and Ellsworth roads.
This development is being called “Project Thunderbird.”
While Amazon would not comment on “Project Thunderbird,” documents filed with the city of Mesa have the word “Amazon” in its file name. Also the project’s proposal includes the usage of “Robotic Storage Platforms,” which is an Amazon-specific term for its proprietary automated package processing system. Amazon used similar language in its early proposals for its Tucson distribution center.