Sarpy County Amazon warehouse, expected to employ 1,000, delays opening until 2024

Papillion official said city was told ‘supply chain issues’ were to blame

By: - July 20, 2022 5:45 am

The Amazon sign at an Amazon fulfillment center. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Though construction is nearly complete, the 700,000-square-foot Amazon distribution center in Sarpy County has run into problems, and its opening will be delayed, likely until 2024.

A City of Papillion spokesman told the Nebraska Examiner on Tuesday that “supply chain issues” botched the online retail giant’s plan to open this year.

The sprawling complex was to employ 1,000 people.

“We still have a positive mindset,” Trenton Albers said, adding that a supply chain setback could be viewed as a “sign of the times.”

Amazon’s project was described by area business officials in 2020 as that year’s largest economic development coup in seven counties surrounding Omaha. It is to feature robots working alongside humans, preparing items for delivery to front porches.

$203 million economic impact

Greater Omaha Chamber leaders said at the time that they expected the operation to have a $203 million annual economic impact in the metro area.

An Amazon delivery truck drives past Amazon  fulfillment center in Staten Island in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Papillion officials have talked to Amazon officials and are optimistic the center will still open, even if delayed, Albers said. He said Amazon still was working on the complex, including continuing the approval process of installing a sprinkler system.

Meanwhile, news media in multiple other cities where Amazon warehouses were in the pipeline have reported delays or cancellations to warehouse plans.

A report last month in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, for example, said a plan for a last-mile Amazon distribution center poised for Georgia’s DeKalb County was dropped. The developer offered no details on what happened.

A Quad Cities-area ABC affiliate reported in May that Amazon confirmed a two-year delay in opening a distribution center in Davenport, Iowa. The Amazon spokeswoman did not give specific reasons, but a Chamber official there told the TV station that “supply chain issues” were involved.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader in South Dakota reported last month that Amazon officials pushed back the target date for a Sioux Falls fulfillment center, also to 2024.

Modern Shipper, which covers the supply chain that supports e-commerce, reported recently that 16 planned Amazon warehouses have been canceled or delayed in 2022. It noted that Amazon reported a $3.8 billion net loss in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the $8.1 billion profit a year earlier.

Code name ‘Willa’

Building officials in Papillion said construction on the Amazon distribution center was almost done. Plans also included about 1,800 car parking stalls, trailer spaces and bike racks.

Amazon declined to offer a price tag for the venture when Gov. Pete Ricketts and Papillion Mayor David Black joined others in late 2020 to announce the project details via a virtual press conference. But the land alone, 94 acres northeast of the intersection of Nebraska Highways 370 and 50, was sold to an Amazon affiliate for $12.3 million.

The Amazon plan had moved through the Papillion Planning Board approval process under the code name Willa.

Amazon has a smaller fulfillment center elsewhere in Papillion that is staffed and operational. Albers reported no change to that plant at this time.

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics. She has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and the Associated Press. Cindy has been recognized by various nonprofits for community contributions and diversity efforts. She chairs the board that oversees the local university’s student newspaper.

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