An architect’s rendering of the 110,000-square-foot distribution warehouse in Grimes owned by Hubbell Realty Co. An industry expert believes Amazon.com has leased the space for its delivery stations. Rendering by SVPA Architects.

Amazon.com today announced that it was opening a delivery station in Grimes that will employ hundreds who will prepare packages headed to customers’ doors.    

The delivery station, the final stop for an order before being delivered to customers, is expected to open in 2020, according to a news release issued by the company.

"It's one of the largest company in the world," Grimes City Administrator Jake Anderson said. "We're pleased they've choosen Grimes."

The announcement is not a surprise.

Six weeks ago, Amazon posted an opening for a job that would be located in Grimes. In early November, the company began posting jobs for logistics and delivery managers, all positions for a Grimes site and all associated with delivery stations.

But while Amazon has announced its presence in Grimes, the Seattle-based retail giant remains mum about any ties to the construction of a fulfillment center in Bondurant on about 165 acres east of U.S. Highway 65 and north of Northeast 62nd Avenue.

The $250 million Bondurant project includes a five-story, 780,000-square-foot warehouse/distribution/fulfillment center and more than 2,000 parking spaces. The project, with specs similar to those of other Amazon fulfillment centers, is expected to create at least 1,100 jobs, most of which will pay $15 an hour. 

David Maahs, executive vice president of economic development for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said the development builds on Central Iowa's tech scene. "Amazon's Grimes delivery station will create hundreds of full- and part-time jobs and further solidify Greater Des Moines as a place where technology-focused companies look to build and grow. Logistics is a key industry in Greater Des Moines, and this project shows that the region is a prime spot for companies to build distribution centers and warehouses."

Brian Buethe, president and CEO of Grimes Chamber & Economic Development, said Amazon appears to have locked up the whole building. "It is my understanding that they have leased the entire building, but I do not know how long of a term," Buethe said. 

An Amazon representative said the company wouldn't have a further comment "at this time."

Amazon often opens delivery stations near its fulfillment centers, Marc Wulfraat, president of MWPVL International Inc., told the Business Record earlier this month

Typically, delivery stations handle an average of 40,000 packages a day that are delivered within a 30- to 50-mile radius, Wulfraat said. The packages are delivered to the station from either a regional sorting or fulfillment center or from a nearby airport. 

The Grimes delivery station would be Amazon’s third in Iowa. Earlier this week, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that the online retailer planned to open a delivery station in Iowa City. Amazon is leasing the 346,062-square-foot former Procter & Gamble distribution center in southeast Iowa City.

Amazon operates an 18,000-square-foot delivery station that opened in 2018 in North Liberty.

Overall, Amazon operates 158 fulfillment centers in the United States that occupy more than 14.4 million square feet, according to MWPVL International, a supply chain and logistics consulting firm that follows Amazon. The retailer has plans to open at least 12 other delivery stations in the coming months, according to MWPVL. 

Amazon’s Grimes delivery station will be located in the Grimes Distribution #5 facility, a Hubbell Realty Co. property located at 1301 S.E. Gateway Drive. A Hubbell spokeswoman referred questions about the amount of space Amazon is leasing in the building and terms of the lease to Amazon, who did not respond.

Construction of the $8 million facility was completed this fall. The building, with 32-foot clear height ceilings, is adjacent to Iowa Highway 141.

The Amazon release said the staion would "create hundreds of full- and part-time jobs starting at $15 per hour." The spokesperson did not respond to a request for more details about job figures.

Wulfraat has said the stations typically employee between 200 and 400 people. In August, Hubbell representatives asked the Grimes City Council for additional parking around the building because a tenant needed 800 spaces. The council approved the request.

Anderson said he expected the delivery station to spur more service and hospitality businesses to open in Grimes.

Anderson said he didn't expect the delivery station to adversely affect traffic in Grimes. He said information provided by Amazon showed that about every 30 minutes, 20 vehicles would be arriving at or leaving the station.

In the past three or so years, Amazon has ramped up its delivery services as it has moved toward providing next-day deliveries. To do that, the company needs fulfillment centers and delivery stations near its customers.

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