By Lucas High — September 16, 2020

BROOMFIELD — McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc. is advancing its proposal to build a new 200,000-square-foot delivery center that would be leased to Amazon Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) at the Baseline development in Broomfield after the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted this week in favor of the project’s development plan.

The Broomfield delivery center would be what Amazon describes as a “final-mile” facility, which serves the last stop between larger regional distribution centers such as those in Thornton and Aurora and the drivers who deliver packages to end-users.

The facility, expected to open in summer 2021, will operate 24 hours per day with about 300 workers inside sorting packages and several hundred more drivers cycling through to load trucks and vans. McWhinney anticipates 32 truck deliveries per day at the site.

Amazon maintains three fulfillment centers in the Denver area, with a 2.4 million-square-foot location in Thornton, a 1 million-square-foot location in Aurora, and a new 123,000-square-foot operation in Loveland’s Centerra development. It also operates a software-development office at 1900 15th St. in Boulder and a 19,000-square-foot distribution center at 3550 Frontier Ave. in Boulder.

Plans submitted by McWhinney to the city were vague about the eventual tenant of the proposed delivery hub at a nearly 54-acre site between Huron Street, West 160th Avenue, Interstate 25 and Northwest Parkway. In fact, a representative for the company on hand during a February conceptual review introduced himself to Broomfield officials only as “John,” and an employee of “the tenant.” It was only when asked directly by Broomfield City Councilwoman Guyleen Castriotta that the representative volunteered that he works for Amazon. No Amazon representatives spoke during this week’s Planning and Zoning Commission hearing.

“We think this project is going to be a great addition to our Baseline community, as well as to the city and county of Broomfield,” McWhinney vice president of commercial development Megan O’Brien told the board.

The distribution center, she said, will provide community benefits such as environmental sustainability features; and infrastructure, pedestrian transportation and landscaping improvements.

Throughout the project’s conceptual design review process, concerns from the community, according to Broomfield senior planner Josh Olhava, mostly centered around traffic and noise, the creation of low-wage jobs without the addition of workforce housing, unsightly building architecture, lack of public communication and overall fit within the community.

These concerns weren’t enough to sway commissioners, who approved the project on a 4-1 vote. The only dissent came from commissioner Jake Carias, who did not elaborate on the reasoning behind his vote.

While he did voice mild alarm over the lack of plans for green space or grassy berms surrounding the site, commissioner Thomas Silvers said, “I think this is a great project.”

McWhinney’s development plans and related land-use amendments will go before the Broomfield City Council at a yet-to-be-determined date for final approval.

Baseline is McWhinney’s massive mixed-use development on 1,100-acre property in northeastern Broomfield located generally south of Baseline Road, west of I-25 and east of Sheridan Parkway.

McWhinney bought the property in 2007 from Pulte Homes Inc., developer of nearby master-planned community Anthem. At full buildout, which could take decades, the community could boast more than 17 million square feet of commercial space and more than 9,200 homes.

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