ST. PETERS • After opening dozens of massive distribution facilities across the country to support growing online sales, Amazon will open its first Missouri fulfillment center in St. Peters, the company announced Wednesday.The building, which will employ 1,500 full-time workers when it opens in May 2019, will be equipped with Amazon’s signature robotic technology and bring many Amazon Prime customers in the St. Louis area next-day, and possibly same-day, delivery for thousands of products.
Once the 855,080-square-foot facility opens, Amazon will have more than 4,000 employees in the St. Louis area spread among the new St. Peters building, two similar distribution centers in Edwardsville and two smaller sortation centers in Hazelwood.
Duke Realty will develop the new building at 4000 Premier Parkway in its Premier 370 business park, near the intersection of Interstate 70 and Missouri Route 370. The park already includes tenants such as Best Buy, Reckitt Benckiser and SAIA. The Post-Dispatch reported this week that Grove Collaborative, a San Francisco-based online retailer, will soon add more than 100 e-commerce jobs in the the park, too. With Amazon, the 300-acre district will have more than 2,000 employees.
According to the St. Louis Regional Chamber, which worked closely on the deal, Amazon will have a St. Peters payroll exceeding $42 million. State economic development officials said the e-commerce company was investing $175 million in the facility.
Matt Hrubes, Duke’s vice president of leasing and development, said construction of the building should begin in a few weeks.
Amazon is in line to receive up to $7.95 million in local and state sales tax exemptions, a state spokeswoman said. St. Charles County is also contributing approximately $3 million to help build out infrastructure in the area. The company will also be eligible to receive up to $100,000 from the Skilled Workforce Missouri program.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens called the deal a win for the region. Rob Dixon, Greitens’ director of economic development, said Amazon chose St. Peters for its proximity to a skilled workforce and central location near highways and the airport.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. said in a statement that Amazon’s investment shows Missouri continues to be at the center of innovation and job creation. “Another global company is recognizing what we in Missouri already know — this is a great place for business and home to a skilled and talented workforce,” McCaskill said.
“We’re excited to continue growing our team with our first, state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Missouri,” Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s Vice President of North America Customer Fulfillment, said in a statement. “Our ability to expand in Missouri is the result of two things: incredible customers and an outstanding workforce. Amazon is committed to providing great opportunities for employment and creating a positive economic impact for the region.”
Ameren Corp., meanwhile, will invest $10 million to build a new substation just south of the Premier 370 business park to power Amazon, the Premier 370’s other tenants and FedEx, which will soon move into a 496,209-square-foot distribution facility being built by Indianapolis-based Scannell Properties nearby. The FedEx project is expected to add nearly 300 jobs.
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said that area of St. Peters was close to the region’s epicenter in terms of jobs, which he said, “is probably somewhere in West County.”
“This is a situation that will bring a lot of new jobs, and all in the region will profit,” he said.
The new St. Peters facility will be Amazon’s first fulfillment center in the state. The company opened two fulfillment centers in Edwardsville that combined employ more than 2,200 workers. One of those, an Amazon spokeswoman said, handles large bulk items such as TVs, furniture or other big products. The St. Peters facility will process smaller items such as books, DVDs and household items such as soaps or cleaning supplies. Once the St. Peters building opens, the second Edwardsville facility will serve as a flex building to handle items as needed, the spokeswoman said.
The two Hazelwood facilities Amazon operates, which employ nearly 400 people, provide Amazon with “last mile” logistics — a term that refers to the final portion of the delivery process to the consumer’s front doorstep.
More information about applying for Amazon jobs is available on the company’s website, http://www.amazondelivers.jobs/. An Amazon spokeswoman said those jobs should be filled by late 2018 or early 2019.
With Amazon, Duke’s Premier 370 will employ more than 2,000 workers, most of them tied to the e-commerce industry.
When the Premier 370 project was proposed under the name Lakeside 370 Business Park in 2000, the city of St. Peters was to act as developer. In 2006, the city sold the Premier 370 site to Duke Realty, which has since developed four buildings, not including Amazon’s planned facility, that total approximately 2 million square feet.
Hrubes said momentum started to pick up for Premier 370 in 2016 after Reckitt Benckiser moved into a 715,000-square-foot, $31.5 million build-to-suit facility developed by Duke. Now with Amazon on board, Hrubes said more deals could be on the horizon.
The park has six lots available, and Hrubes said a couple of prospective users are already inquiring about those.
St. Peters City Administrator Russ Batzel said Duke was also considering another speculative building on the northeast portion of the development.
St. Louis is coming off one of its strongest years for industrial real estate thanks to the rise of e-commerce and massive buildings taken up by companies such as Amazon. Approximately 4 million square feet of industrial space was completed last year, on top of the 6 million square feet delivered in 2016. Almost all of it has been leased, a promising sign for local developers. At least another 2 million square feet is expected to be developed this year.
In St. Charles County, more than 1.5 million square feet of industrial space was leased over the course of 2017.