Biz & Tech // Business

Amazon says no plans for Fremont operation, but city documents say otherwise

Planning documents recently filed in Fremont recommend the city approve parking for a new Amazon.com fulfillment center, and city officials have met with the company to discuss its plans — but Amazon won’t say whether it will open a facility there.

City zoning documents filed Jan. 6 recommend approving a “fleet services yard” with 1,000 parking spaces that would accommodate employee and delivery vehicles associated with an Amazon e-commerce delivery center in the Fremont Technology Business Center at the Pacific Commons South industrial park.

Fremont planner Courtney Pal said city officials met with the property owner and Amazon representatives in November to review how the parking area would be used.

“We had conversations with Amazon regarding proposed use of the site,” Pal said, adding it was her impression that Amazon would use the Fremont site as a “last mile” center to deliver packages to nearby customers. Amazon has sought to expand its logistics network to provide faster shipping, particularly Prime customers who pay an annual fee for quicker deliveries.

“We don’t have any news to share about plans for (an operations) building in the area,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.

She did not explain why the documents had been filed or elaborate on the company’s plans.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal first reported on the plans. The Amazon spokeswoman disputed the characterization of the project as a “fulfillment center” in the planning documents, which were filed by the developer, Pacific Commons Owner.

Construction of the complex is continuing, with the first buildings expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2020. The delivery center would be in a planned 366,617-square-foot building in the complex, with some of the outdoor parking to be constructed instead of another building that had been proposed, according to the documents.

In the Bay Area, Amazon operates fulfillment warehouses in San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Berkeley, Newark, San Jose, San Mateo, South San Francisco and Vacaville, according to job listings. Amazon has more than 110 fulfillment centers in North America and roughly 175 globally, with a total area of 150 million square feet.

The retailer leased a large industrial building in Livermore in late 2019 to serve as a delivery station.

Industrial leases have become less frequent in the East Bay since 2014, according to commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield.

“This speaks more to the tightness of the market rather than a drop-off in demand,” it wrote in a recent market report, noting the 5% vacancy rate for industrial space in Fremont.

The report noted that UPS has leased the separately owned but adjacent 815,000-square-foot Pacific Commons Industrial Center.

Electric-car manufacturer Tesla runs a 5.3 million-square-foot manufacturing and office plant in Fremont, which it has said it plans to increase to 10 million square feet.

Chase DiFeliciantonio is a Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ChaseDiFelice

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