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Sunday, June 26, 2022
Photo of workers in an Amazon warehouse.

$200 million Amazon facility proposed for construction in Dane County

Amazon in conjunction with a Dallas-based property developer has presented plans to the Cottage Grove Village Board and Planning Commission to construct a 3.4 million square foot distribution center in Dane County.  

If approved, the facility is expected to cost over $200 million to construct and would be one of the largest distribution centers in the country.

The five story complex is estimated to provide approximately 1,500 jobs to local residents and is expected to serve as a “middle mile” facility that would primarily distribute large quantities of goods to smaller distribution sites responsible for managing shipments of products directly to customers.

According to Cottage Grove administrator Matt Giese, Cottage Grove has requested no tax assistance to help in the assistance of the project. In a public statement, Giese welcomed the idea of an Amazon facility being constructed near the village, stating that the site would also bolster the economy of Dane County.

“It’s a huge economic win for the village and Dane County as a whole,” Giese said. “It’s just an ideal location.”

The proposal for the development of the facility was initially introduced by the Trammell Crow Co. as “Project Silver Eagle”, with it being revealed later in public meetings that the site would eventually become an Amazon facility. Tramell Crow is one of the largest real estate developers in the US and has previously worked with Amazon to establish new sites.

The 130 acres of land where the proposed facility is scheduled to be constructed was purchased from Cottage Grove Business Development by Amazon.com Services this past December for $29.7 million.

If approved by the village of Cottage Grove, construction on the site could begin within the year with the facility potentially able to be fully developed in as little as 18 months.

Several members of the Cottage Grove community have expressed reservations regarding the construction of the Amazon facility, citing the environmental impact the facility may have on the rural community of approximately 7,000 residents. 

“I think it’s going to change our way of life,” local resident Heather McIntosh said. “I’m concerned about the environmental impact that a building of this massive size will have. How will that impact our wells? That’s our drinking water. Will oil and gasoline from the thousands of cars that are going to be coming through and diesel trucks ... What is the potential for any of that to leach into our wells? That’s a huge concern.”

Other residents expressed similar sentiments, stating their concerns regarding the large size of the projected facility.

“I think there’s been a lot of wool pulled over the eyes of the Village of Cottage Grove residents,” resident Jeff Okazaki, said. “For us to see this facility to come up was quite a shock … A 650k square foot monstrosity, a building that is 100 feet tall ... was really surprising and terrifying for our residents.”

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The developer of the facility has responded to these criticisms saying that Amazon “prioritizes implementing sustainable policies” and that they have been actively engaged with the village to make sure future conditions meet power, water and sewer standards.

Wisconsin is home to several other large Amazon facilities including a 2.6 million-square-foot, $200 million facility in Oak Creek and a 1.3 million-square-foot, $105 million site in Beloit — both of which were opened in 2020.  

The project requires an additional round of approvals from Cottage Grove officials which is scheduled for their Feb. 16 Plan Commission. If approved, the project would later be considered at the Feb. 21 village board meeting.

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