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Economy & Economic Development  March 30, 2022

Amazon approved plans for Loveland call for 3.87M sf facility

LOVELAND — The Amazon logistics center planned for east Loveland is more likely to be 3.87 million square feet than it is the 600,000 square feet listed in a city of Loveland press release last week.

The city, in acknowledging that Amazon.com had signed a development agreement for the site at the north end of Byrd Drive, near the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, said the facility would be more than 600,000 square feet. Building plans approved as early as Dec. 16, 2021, and provided to BizWest in partial fulfillment of a Colorado Open Records Act document request, show that the mammoth structure will be much larger at 3.87 million square feet. 

The structure will be, according to the approved plans, 823,871 square feet on the first floor and about 664,750 square feet on each of four floors above that. While adding those numbers renders a total of 3.48 million square feet, the narrative within the document lists a total of 3.85 million square feet and the approved site development plan lists 3.87 million.

The anticipated opening date is late 2024.

Nearly all of the structure will be for warehousing and package handling, with just 46,500 square feet in office configurations. The first floor will be where most of the human work is done, with upper floors largely for storage and robotic retrieval of merchandise items, according to the plans.

It is being built on 74.69 acres of the 151.8 acres that Amazon bought for $9.4 million on March 3. The building is in the southwest corner of the site and west of an extension of Byrd Drive that will bisect the total site. Byrd will be extended across Louden Ditch to East Larimer County Road 30, where a roundabout will be built. Another roundabout will be built on Byrd at the entrance to the Amazon facility site.

City development regulations require that one parking space be provided for every 2,500 square feet of building space, which in this case would be 1,548 spaces. The plans provide for 1,801 spaces, plus 379 trailer spaces and 62 loading docks. Twenty-three percent of the site will be open space, the plans noted.

Number of employees at the site is not yet determined although it has been estimated at 1,000 or more. The traffic study, prepared by Langan Engineering and Environmental Services Inc. of Lakewood, anticipated 937 day shift workers (7 a.m. until 6 p.m.) and another 937 night shift workers (6 p.m. until 5 a.m.) Langan also did the traffic study for the Colorado Springs Amazon logistics center, which is similar in size to the Loveland project.

The Langan study concluded that the existing transportation network in the area could handle the additional traffic, with the addition of the roundabouts; adjustments, replacement or addition of traffic signals and some adjustments to street configurations to permit dual left-hand turn lanes at Byrd and Crossroads Boulevard, for example.

Work at that particular intersection would require movement of storm drainage, fiber-optic lines, electricity conduits, curbs and gutters, gas lines, and irrigation equipment to permit an expanded turn radius onto Byrd.

Langan wrote in its report that a total of 3,982 daily trips could be expected from the Amazon facility, including both staff members during or slightly before peak commuting hours and truck traffic, which would be anticipated mostly during off-commuting hours. 

“Based on our analyses, we determined the adjacent roadway network has sufficient capacity to accommodate the typical site-generated traffic associated with the distribution center during roadway peak commuter hours in the short-range (2024)” with the improvements suggested.  

Eventually, the traffic engineers recommended extending Byrd beyond County Road 30 to Colorado Highway 392 (Carpenter Road), where there would be another interstate interchange.

Cost of the highway improvements in the short- or long-term were not immediately clear in the documents that BizWest reviewed. In at least one case, the documents suggested that the developer would bear the costs.

Kelly Jones, economic development director for the city, said in an email to BizWest that “We did not offer any incentives or give any other business investments.” She directed BizWest to city engineer Dave Klockeman.

Klockeman said the costs of the roadway upgrades would be shared between the developer and the city “in accordance with standard policies.”

“The developer is responsible for building up to a major collector,” he said. Since Byrd is a major arterial, the developer will pay 65% of the cost in building up to County Road 30. The roundabout at Byrd and County Road 30, the intersection of two arterials, will be paid largely by the city, he said. Roundabouts along Byrd adjacent to the Amazon facility will be paid for by the developer. 

Improvements to the Crossroads Boulevard and Byrd will also be shared. “Their project will use 60% of the increased capacity of the additional turn lanes, so will pay 60% of the cost,” Klockeman said.

The final piece of the roadway changes in that area will be the removal of the interstate frontage road between Crossroads and County Road 30. “That’s been in the long term plan since the 1990s,” Klockeman said. Upgrades to Byrd will replace that capacity.

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