Amazon facility planned for former JCPenney warehouse in Wauwatosa

Published Wednesday, April 22, 2020
by BizTimes Milwaukee

Amazon plans to take over a large portion of the former JCPenney Logistics Warehouse and Furniture Outlet Center in Wauwatosa as a last-mile delivery facility to ship goods directly to consumers.

According to documents filed with the city, Amazon would occupy 540,000 square feet of the facility, located at 11800 W. Burleigh St. The entire facility totals 2 million square feet. The Amazon space will be remodeled, while another 344,000 square feet will be demolished.

A letter to city officials from project consultant Kimley-Horn only refers to Amazon as the “prospective tenant.” But Amazon is explicitly named as the tenant in subsequent documents.

“The prospective tenant intends to utilize the remodeled portion of the building as the final leg of their delivery chain,” Raleigh, North Carolina-based Kimley-Horn wrote in the letter. “Delivery vans will be loaded with consumer goods delivered directly to the end user.”

The proposal will be taken up on May 11 by the city’s Plan Commission, which will consider a related conditional use permit.

Hundreds of jobs will be created, mostly full-time and some part-time positions, according to the letter. Specifically, 100 employees will support the sorting operation. All warehouse and office workers will be paid at least $15 an hour. Full-time workers will receive the same benefits as senior executives.

The facility will operate 24 hours a day to support delivery operations, while deliveries from the facility will occur between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. About 21 trucks will deliver packages to the facility each day, primarily from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Then customer packages will be sorted, picked to the delivery routes and staged for dispatch.

Delivery drivers will arrive at the facility around 9:20 a.m., and between 9:50-11:10 a.m. 229 vans will load and depart from the station at a rate of 60 vans every 20 minutes. The vans will return roughly between 7-9 p.m.

Neither Kimley-Horn nor the building’s owner, Milwaukee-based Phoenix Investors, immediately responded to a request for comment.

Drawings show the project involves the southern portion of the facility. The parts to be demolished are labeled building four and building six, and are at the southern and eastern ends of the facility, respectively. Buildings one and two, which sit between the portions slated for demolition and the northern part of the facility that’s labeled “not in contract,” would be remodeled.

Phoenix Investors acquired the facility in 2018 for $31.25 million and last year began making renovations.

The two-story facility was built between 1958-1965, is zoned for heavy manufacturing and is the “largest block of contiguous space in the market,” according to marketing materials from Phoenix.

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