Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from Walker Mayor Gary Carey.
WALKER — Online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. is proposing a 113,000-square-foot package sorting and delivery facility in Walker, just north of I-96.
According to documents filed with the Walker Planning Commission, the delivery and warehouse facility would include 1,098 parking spaces for employees and delivery vehicles, while the project would require “significant new public road construction.”
The 32.5-acre vacant site at 3384 4 Mile Road — between Peach Ridge Avenue NW and Fruit Ridge Avenue NW, across from Kenowa Hills High School — has already been rezoned from agricultural to industrial use. The 1,098 parking spaces would be for delivery trucks, employees, contractors and semi-trucks. Planning documents also indicate the site would be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year.
“Three shifts of workers are foreseen as the facility matures,” according to a memo from Walker Community Development Director Frank Wash.
Walker Mayor Gary Carey said the project aligns with the industrial development that’s been planned in that area of the city “for many years.”
“There’s a strategy behind this,” Carey said. “From a business and community standpoint, it just appears to be the right fit for Walker and Amazon both.”
The facility would receive semi-truck deliveries of packages from a regional distribution center in Gaines Township during “off-peak overnight hours,” according to a traffic impact study. The packages would then be sorted and delivered by vans the following day. The proposed facility is expected to involve 54 semi-truck trips during a typical day.
The company expects roughly 193 employees will sort packages from 2 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while “two smaller shifts” would include about 33 employees.
At delivery stations, “customer orders are prepared for last-mile delivery to customers,” according to Amazon’s website.
A traffic impact study completed by Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE concludes that the facility would have “minor impacts to the existing peak-hour delay on the surrounding roadway network.”
An affiliate of Grand Rapids-based Visser Development Inc. owns the property, which is being developed by Minneapolis, Minn.-based Ryan Companies US Inc., which has worked on previous projects for the e-commerce giant, according to its website. Both are the formal applicants of a final area site plan review.
The Walker Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the proposal on Oct. 7.
Representatives for Amazon and Ryan Companies could not immediately be reached for comment.
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