Amazon plans warehouse, package pickup site in Arlington Heights

  • The former Nokia building in Arlington Heights will soon be home to an Amazon distribution center and customer service area, where online orders can be picked up or returned.

      The former Nokia building in Arlington Heights will soon be home to an Amazon distribution center and customer service area, where online orders can be picked up or returned. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • A sketch shows one of Amazon's new building signs that will be installed at its new distribution center on the north side of Arlington Heights.

    A sketch shows one of Amazon's new building signs that will be installed at its new distribution center on the north side of Arlington Heights. Courtesy of Village of Arlington Heights

 
 
Updated 6/16/2020 12:53 PM

In April, Arlington Heights officials announced plans for an undisclosed national firm to bring its short-term warehousing, sorting and distribution operation to a vacant building on the village's far north side.

It turns out that national firm is the online retail giant Amazon, which, if its building sign variations approved by village trustees Monday are any indication, will be secret no more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Seattle-based e-commerce firm already got the support of board members in early April for a Cook County Class 6b property tax break, which will allow the vacant 215,000-square-foot building at 1455 W. Shure Drive to be assessed at lower levels over the course of a dozen years. But at the time of the approval, nothing about Amazon was revealed publicly, since property owner Griffin Capital handled the necessary paperwork.

On Monday night, it was Amazon's turn to formally go before the board -- during a meeting held by video conference -- to ask for variations to village sign code allowing three signs on the building and five directional ground signs scattered throughout the campus.

While the warehouse will serve as a general package delivery distribution center, much of the signage will be directing customers to an Amazon Hub customer service and package pickup/drop-off area.

Asher Cousin, an Amazon construction manager, told village trustees the area will allow customers to make returns using an online code they enter on a machine. Likewise, they will be able to enter a code and the machine will open with a package that has been ordered. The service will be available 24 hours a day, he said.

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Word of Amazon's new location in Arlington Heights comes a month after the online retailer revealed plans to move into a 162,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution building under construction down the road in Palatine. Also along the Route 53 corridor, the new Amazon site at 315 S. Hicks Road could be ready by this fall.

Amazon pulled a building permit in Arlington Heights last week to commence interior renovation work at the Shure Drive building, which has been vacant since Nokia Siemens left in December 2017.

It's one building in what was the sprawling 66-acre Motorola campus east of Route 53 and south of Dundee Road. But Amazon's opening will represent one of the last pieces in a full reoccupancy of the campus, along with United Airlines, HSBC and Northrop Grumman.

Amazon is planning $4.4 million in building upgrades, including interior demolition, building out office space, installation of dock equipment, expansion of the parking lot, and installation of new heating and cooling and alarm systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The business would have 181 delivery drivers, 130 part-time package handlers and 30 management employees, according to a project description.

As many as 200 cars and 260 trucks could enter and exit the site on a daily basis.

Cousin said the facility should be open by September.

"We're excited to get started with construction," Cousin said.

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