MARRIOTT-SLATERVILLE — Amazon will occupy the new warehouse taking shape in Marriott-Slaterville, using it as a last-mile delivery center for Weber County residents receiving goods via the online retailer.
Work has been ongoing at the site at the northeast corner of 400 North and Interstate 15, and officials have said a warehouse is coming. But the developer, Gardner Batt of Salt Lake City, hasn’t publicly named the firm that will occupy it due to a nondisclosure agreement.
Amazon reps on Thursday, though, confirmed that the online retail giant will occupy the building, to measure around 180,000 square feet, using it as the last stop for goods headed to Weber County-area customers. “The new facility will generate hundreds of full-time and part-time jobs and is slated to open early next year,” said Anne Laughlin Carpita, an Amazon spokesperson.
On top of the employees sorting and processing packages inside the Marriott-Slaterville delivery center, the company will hire “hundreds” more to handle actual deliveries to consumers. Deliveries to customers are typically handled by drivers and delivery firms contracted by Amazon, known as delivery service partners.
Bill Morris, city attorney for Marriott-Slaterville, welcomed the news that the facility and jobs will be coming. He hopes the new workers, when brought on, will be treated with respect, that the jobs will provide good opportunities for those who take them. City officials, though, are also mindful of the potential impact the facility will have on traffic in the area on 400 North and the access ramps for I-15, already congested at times. “We’re going to watch traffic,” Morris said.
Traffic congestion emerged as a point of concern for residents during two public meetings on the warehouse plans last October, when the development proposal became public though Amazon hadn’t yet been publicly identified as the occupant. A traffic consultant for Gardner Batt said last October that around 1,000 delivery vans would be in and out of the site each day, along with around 500 employees. Another 50 semitrailer trucks are also expected each day.
Gardner Batt reps say traffic studies they’ve conducted indicate vehicle flow to and from the new warehouse shouldn’t create new problems. Morris understands that delivery van traffic will be staggered and that they will be sent out during nonpeak traffic times to minimize traffic issues. The building will operate around the clock, according to minutes from an Oct. 20, 2020, Marriott-Slaterville Planning Commission meeting on the plans.
Gardner Batt will own the new warehouse when complete and lease it to Amazon. Indeed, Marriott-Slaterville officials have dealt solely with Gardner Batt reps as the planning process has unfolded and had no dealings with Amazon reps, though they’d welcome such contacts, Morris said.
News of Amazon’s looming move to Marriott-Slaterville comes as the Seattle, Washington-based retailing giant expands its footprint around Utah and beyond. According to company reps, Amazon operates fulfillment centers in West Jordan and Salt Lake City, where goods headed to customers are packaged. It runs a package sorting center in Salt Lake City and three delivery stations in the state, transshipment points for packages headed to customers. Three new delivery stations in Utah are in the works, including the Marriott-Slaterville facility.
“In addition to the more than 8,000 direct jobs Amazon has created in the state, Amazon has contributed to the creation of thousands of indirect jobs and has invested more than $1 billion in Utah since 2010 including in infrastructure and compensation,” Laughlin Carpita said. The firm has 950,000 U.S.-based employees.
Amazon has come under increased scrutiny as it has grown, hired more and more workers and become a powerhouse in retailing. Most recently, it was the focus of intense media attention due to a unionization vote among employees at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama. The workers there ultimately voted against unionizing by a two-to-one margin.
Jeff Bezos, the outgoing Amazon chief executive officer, addressed the scrutiny and Alabama unionization effort in a letter to shareholders released on Thursday.
“While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees,” Bezos wrote in the letter, according to Reuters. “I think we need to do a better job for our employees.”
Notwithstanding criticism lobbed Amazon’s way, Dan Hemmert, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, lauded the firm in a report posted Thursday on the GOED website. Starting pay for company workers is $15 an hour, more than double the state-mandated minimum wage, $7.25 an hour.
“Amazon’s growth continues to fuel the creation of quality jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurship for thousands of Utahns,” Hemmert said. “The company’s focus on supporting employees, customers, and positively impacting communities helps Utah’s economy and Utahns’ quality of life.”
The Marriott-Slaterville warehouse, taking shape on an undeveloped 54-acre parcel, will be set away from homes, abutting I-15 to the west and Toad’s Fun Zone around it’s southeastern periphery. Kip Van Dyke, the golf pro for the Toad’s Fun Zone golf course, expressed hope the presence of the new facility would bring customers to the business.
The new facility will be about a fifth of the size of the 1 million-square-foot Associated Food Stores warehouse complex in Farr West, Morris said. The city of Marriott-Slaterville didn’t provide any tax incentives to aid with the warehouse construction. But the city reduced the impact fees Gardner Batt will have to pay from around $1.2 million to $700,000 because the developer is building an access road at the location.