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March 25, 2016 9:30 AM, EDT
Amazon to Open 800,000-Square-Foot Fulfillment Center in Kansas
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News

Amazon.com on March 24 announced a new Edgerton, Kansas, fulfillment center that will create about 1,000 full-time jobs and help the online giant’s speed-of-delivery goals.

The company, which will operate in an 822,104-square-foot facility in Logistics Park Kansas City, didn’t release financial details or set an opening date. Hiring for the center won’t begin until the company is closer to opening.

But state and Johnson County officials hailed the announcement as a big gain for the Kansas City area.

“This is outstanding in that a big name like Amazon, a recognizable company, really helps us to continue marketing the area to national and international companies,” said Greg Martinette, president of the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corp.

Amazon has worked in recent months to boost delivery speed and reduce logistics costs by adding a fleet of cargo trucks and opening smaller distribution centers to handle “last-mile” deliveries to people’s homes.

The Edgerton announcement reflects the company’s other tactic — to locate its large fulfillment centers near big cities, with their heftier populations. And it’s working on the concept of drone delivery for even faster landings at customer doorsteps.

Amazon will fully occupy a building known as InlandPort XIV, which was announced in May as a speculative development by NorthPoint Development in the 1,500-acre Logistics Park. The industrial park wraps around the BNSF Railway Intermodal facility.

Amazon received incentives from the state to locate in Edgerton, but a Department of Commerce spokeswoman said it was against state policy to release incentive details until after contracts are signed. No information was available about when that might occur.

The new distribution center will handle large merchandise, described by Amazon as “big-screen televisions, sports equipment or kayaks, for example.”

The company said the Edgerton building won’t affect an existing Amazon “sortation center” in Lenexa, a 260,700-square-foot facility that opened in 2014. It also has two other order-fulfillment facilities in the region. Amazon said the company already employs hundreds of workers in the area.

According to Amazon’s announcement, the new facility will offer hourly positions, plus managerial and customer-support roles. It described planned wages as competitive with a “comprehensive benefits package.”

“We’re excited to bring 1,000 great full-time jobs with benefits to the Kansas City region and proud to further invest in the state with this new fulfillment center,” Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s vice president of North American operations, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the enthusiasm of our many state and local partners who have supported Amazon in bringing a new fulfillment center to Kansas. This has been a true team effort.”

Kansas commerce officials identified the Kansas Department of Transportation, BNSF, NorthPoint Development, KCP&L, the city of Edgerton and the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corp. as coalition members that led the effort.

NorthPoint officials had no comment March 24 on the Amazon announcement that it would fill the development company’s largest speculatively built industrial building.

Gov. Sam Brownback said in a statement, “This is good news for Kansas. In addition to creating 1,000 jobs, Amazon is investing in our state, workforce and the community. The quality of the Kansas workforce and our central location in the heart of the nation contributed to their decision to locate in Logistics Park Kansas City.”

Edgerton Mayor Donald Roberts said in a statement that his city looks forward “to having Amazon as a community partner” for years to come.

The bright prospects for Edgerton once were echoed in Coffeyville, Kansas, which had about 1,000 Amazon employees working in a 915,000-square-foot warehouse in that southeast Kansas city. That facility, opened in 1999, was shuttered in 2015 despite a multimillion-dollar incentive package offered to keep it there.

Amazon said at the time it was necessary to realign its national distribution network by putting distribution centers closer to large population centers.

Amazon said the new Edgerton property will benefit from “state-of-the-art technology” to help order fulfillment.