UPS Shipping center sails into Aurora

Shipping giant UPS announced this week it has started construction on 360,000-square-foot building in the 110-acre East Park 70 industrial park. The park is just off I-70 near East 23rd Avenue and Smith Road on the city’s eastern edge. The $90-million facility, which is set to open for some operations this holiday season and should be complete by 2019, is expected to employ 700 people

A conveyer belt in the new UPS package distribution facility, which opened Nov. 1. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentine

A conveyer belt in the new UPS package distribution facility, which opened Nov. 1. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentine

Workers are seen to scale in the new UPS package distribution facility, which opened Nov. 1. 
Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel

Workers are seen to scale in the new UPS package distribution facility, which opened Nov. 1. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel

A maze of conveyer belts runs through the new 360,000 square foot UPS package distribution facility, which opened Nov. 1. 
Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel

A maze of conveyer belts runs through the new 360,000 square foot UPS package distribution facility, which opened Nov. 1. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel

UPS West Region Project Engineering Manager, Robert Gonzalez, stands for a portrait in between lines and stacks of conveyer belts, each with a specific destination in the 360,000 square foot warehouse, which opened Nov. 1.
Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel

UPS West Region Project Engineering Manager, Robert Gonzalez, stands for a portrait in between lines and stacks of conveyer belts, each with a specific destination in the 360,000 square foot warehouse, which opened Nov. 1. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel

UPS West Region Project Engineering Manager, Robert Gonzalez, stands for a portrait under a row of off-loading conveyer belts in the new 360,000 square foot UPS package distribution facility, which opened Nov. 1.Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel

UPS West Region Project Engineering Manager, Robert Gonzalez, stands for a portrait under a row of off-loading conveyer belts in the new 360,000 square foot UPS package distribution facility, which opened Nov. 1. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel

AURORA | The eastern reaches of Interstate 70 through Aurora continued to add to its reputation as a hub of distribution and warehouse space this week.

Shipping giant UPS announced this week it has started construction on 360,000-square-foot building in the 110-acre East Park 70 industrial park. The park is just off I-70 near East 23rd Avenue and Smith Road on the city’s eastern edge. The $90-million facility, which is set to open for some operations this holiday season and should be complete by 2019, is expected to employ 700 people.

“The Aurora facility is part of the strategic investments UPS is making to better service our customers and enhance its efficiency and processing capability,” Kenneth Cherry, president of the UPS Desert Mountain district that includes Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, said in a statement announcing the project. “We appreciate the community support for UPS and are excited to offer the area new jobs to meet rapid expansion of both residential and commercial demand.”

Aurora city council on Monday signed off on a tax incentive for the project that could be worth as much as $466,000 in tax rebates over the next decade if the company meets certain employment marks.

“Aurora is happy to welcome UPS to the city,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said in the statement. “I’m proud of the partnerships that make these projects a reality, create jobs for our residents, and drive economic vitality in Aurora.”

Kim Krebs, a spokeswoman for UPS, said the first phase of the project, which should be up and running in time for holiday shipping, will focus on tractor trailers. The second phase will include the iconic brown delivery trucks, she said.

The company’s statement said the facility will help with the company’s  roll-out of Saturday ground delivery and pickup service that began in late April. Aurora and the metro area has been an early market for the new service, the company said.

The project is one of several similar distribution facilities to come to the plains near I-70 and south of Denver International Airport in recent years.

Already, Amazon has opened two facilities in the neighborhood, including one sortation center that topped 1 million square feet.

Walmart also has plans for a distribution facility in the area.

Anticipating a boom in these sorts of projects, developers have started multiple massive speculative builds in recent years, builds that don’t even have a tenant until the massive project is already under construction.

Local economic development leaders praised the UPS announcement.

“We are thrilled to have UPS expand in the city, and to generate so many new jobs for the community,” Aurora Economic Development Council President and CEO Wendy Mitchell said in the statement. “Our continued focus is to drive economic development by attracting primary employers like UPS with all that Aurora has to offer. We truly believe that Aurora is the best business address in the West.”

For UPS, the project is one of several they have in Colorado and Krebs said it’s part of a broader effort to improve their operations in the Rocky Mountain region. The company also broke ground on a 1-million square foot facility in Salt lake City last year, she said, and another massive project in Phoenix as well.

In all, more than 5,400 UPS employees work in Colorado, according to the company.