First step taken in building 1.5 million-square-foot warehouse on remote city land

A second massive warehouse may find a home in Palm Springs.

Driving the news: Pre-application paperwork submitted to the city’s Department of Development Services last week shows Seefried Industrial Properties intends to build a 1.5 million-square-foot fulfillment center on land just north of Interstate-10 at Indian Canyon and 18th Avenue.

  • The land is owned by Fred Noble of Wintec Energy.

  • There is no indication which business might use the big building. Typically, Amazon and Costco need such space.

Details: The 60-foot-tall building is considered a “distribution/warehouse/fulfillment/e-commerce” center and will operate 24/7. Like similar projects, it could employ thousands of local residents.

Why now: In January, the Palm Springs City Council voted unanimously to change zoning rules, making it easier to build fulfillment centers up to 95 feet high.

  • Big money: Unlike large buildings used as warehouses, fulfillment centers can generate tens of millions in sales tax revenue for cities that allow them because goods go directly to consumers instead of being shipped to stores.

Flurry of activity: The change in zoning laws appears to have sparked much interest among developers.

  • Seefried’s proposal comes one month after a property management company submitted paperwork for a 750,000-square-foot warehouse near the same location.

Familiar name: Seefried Industrial Properties is the same company hoping to build what would become the largest fulfillment center in the country at 3.4 million square-feet in Desert Hot Springs.

Yes, but: During deliberations at the January meeting, some councilmembers acknowledged that companies that build fulfillment centers are often called out for poor working conditions and low wages. 

  • If Palm Springs were to hold out, however, they feared the city would be left behind as nearby jurisdictions allowed the fulfillment centers and benefited from tax revenue. 

Next up: The paperwork submitted May 3 is just a preliminary step. The developer would still need to submit a formal application and take it through the labyrinth of City Hall before shovels could go in the ground.

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