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Amazon in KC: Online retailer unpacks growth, bringing jobs, leases

by Morgan Bell | Dec 06, 2016

The Kansas City area is home to more than 4 million sq. ft. of eCommerce tenants, including Amazon, S&S Activeware, ReallyGoodStuff.com, Jet.com and FoodServiceWarehouse.com. The Kansas City Business Journal recently reported that Amazon alone soon will occupy more than 4.2 million square feet in the market.

Amazon's fourth facility in the KC region, announced in March, is an 822,000-sq.-ft. large-item fulfillment center at Logistics Park Kansas City in Edgerton, Kansas. The facility employs about 1,000. Amazon's fifth area facility is expected to employ as many as 3,500, which will involve fulfillment of orders for small and midsize items.

“I’ve been telling prospects that this is an eCommerce market, and as an exclamation point, I can now say, ‘Look at all the investments Amazon’s making here,’” Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort said. “In other markets our size, they’re doing a couple of 850,000-to-1 million-sq.-ft. facilities, and that’s it. I’m not seeing other markets our size with concentrations of four or five Amazon facilities.”

Amazon and other eCommerce firms have been attracted to Kansas City for multiple reasons. 85 percent of the U.S. population can be reached from a KC location via ground transportation within two days. Other reasons include workforce availability, rich highway and rail networks, and a wealth of supply-chain resources, such as the local facilities operated by Amazon’s last-mile delivery partners, UPS and FedEx.

The Kansas City Business Journal reported U.S. online sales topped $100 billion in 2006. According to Forrester Research Inc., sales are expected to reach $530.6 billion by 2020, up from $338.1 billion in 2015. Amazon accounted for more than 60 percent of U.S. online sales growth in 2015 and exceeded $100 billion in revenue by itself last year.

Despite high levels of growth, plenty of market share remains for Amazon and other online retailers to grab. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, eCommerce sales in 2015 represented only 10.5 percent of all retail sales (factoring out sales of automobiles, fuel and other items not generally bought online).

Read the full Kansas City Business Journal article. 

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