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UPDATE: Amazon delivery center planned for Madison

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- Plans for an Amazon warehouse on Madison's east side hit a bump in the road Monday night during a Madison Plan Commission meeting.

City leaders told 27 News approvals for part of the project were denied.

Plan Commission members voted against approving changes to parking and stormwater management at the location. The warehouse will still likely be built with plans for parking on another lot.

"City staff does not know at this time whether or how the warehouse and distribution facility proposed for 3650 Milwaukee Street will move forward," said the director of the planning division, Heather Stouder. "It is a permitted use in the Industrial-Limited Zoning District, so it would not need any future review or approval by the City’s Plan Commission, but would still need to meet all ordinances related to zoning, stormwater management, etc."


MADISON (WKOW) -- An engineering firm filed plans with the city of Madison to build an Amazon distribution hub on the community's east side.

A report on file with the city of Madison calls for the partial demolition and reuse of a building at 3650 Milwaukee Street for an 'Amazon Hub' package distribution facility."

The documents directly deal with the adjoining property at 3630 Milwaukee Street which would, under the plans, be used for parking and "stormwater management."

A Planning Division report estimates the project to wrap-up, pending "regulatory approvals," later this year.

The 3650 Milwaukee Street property features a 228,100 square-foot warehouse last held by The Swiss Colony, a specialty food distribution business, according to the report.

Semi-trucks would bring packages to the delivery center from "fulfillment centers" and would then transfer the items to vans for final drop-off.

The report says plans for the facility include space for 500 van parking stalls and 204 employee spaces.

City leaders tell 27 News Amazon has not said how many jobs the facility could bring to Madison. We reached out to the company Monday afternoon but did not hear back.

Business leaders say Madison needs good-paying jobs, since unemployment is just 2 percent right now. Amazon has said it pays employees at least $15 an hour in all its facilities.

"That $15 to $20 an hour wage threshold is an important one for us to make sure that we have jobs that are filling that," said Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. "What we don't want to do is have a doughnut hole in the middle of our economy, where we have a lot of high paying jobs, sort of tech-enabled jobs, and then we have sort of lower wage service jobs."

Brandon tells 27 News changes in how people shop online are leading to an increase in facilities like Amazon centers in Wisconsin. Beloit is expecting a distribution center right now.

He says the Madison warehouse will be in a perfect location for sending out shipments, close to highways and the airport.

"It's really about the ease of logistics, both here in Madison but the entire part of southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois," Brandon said.

Brandon says changes in recent years to the city's zoning code and TIF development subsidies helped make this process go faster, aimed at bringing businesses to Madison to revitalize neighborhoods.

"We're giving predictability and letting people know this is a place that we want jobs and that we want new businesses to establish and to grow. And this is just a proof of what can happen when all the dominoes lineup," he said.

But it's that quick process that's upset some in Madison, who showed up at the Plan Commission meeting to share their opinions ahead of a vote to move the project forward.

Carl Landsness lives on the east side and leads the Starkweather Creek friends group, which has been active in discussions over revitalization in the Milwaukee Street area. He tells 27 News he's not happy to have just heard about the Amazon plans Monday evening.

"The fact that they're talking about final approval of a massive expansion of an already massive parking lot without any public hearing, at least that I know of," Landsness said.

In a demolition permit application to the city, an engineering firm says the Amazon packaging distribution facility could open on Milwaukee Street later this year.

JT Cestkowski

Social Media Content Producer/Desk Editor

Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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