After rapid pandemic expansion, Amazon delays opening new Weber County warehouse

Dec 13, 2022, 5:38 AM | Updated: 6:22 am
FILE: Packed orders move down a converyor belt at an Amazon fullfillment center. (Photo by Rick T. ...
FILE (Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)

MARRIOTT-SLATERVILLE, Utah — If you’re waiting for Christmas packages to be delivered to your door this year, they’re not going to come through the brand-new warehouse sitting just off I-15 in Weber County.

That warehouse, in Marriott-Slaterville, looks complete from the outside, but its opening could be delayed until 2024 due to supply chain problems in receiving equipment to operate the last-mile delivery hub.

Bill Morris, city administrator for Marriott-Slaterville, said Amazon has never talked to him directly about the 183,000-square-foot facility; rather, he’s only heard information second-hand through the building’s landlord. “Amazon is just leasing that site,” he said.

Morris said he’s heard that once opened, the warehouse will employ between 400 and 600 people. The facility is intended for last-mile delivery in Weber County, serving six zip codes in the nearby area, he said.

The massive online retailer already operates 16 facilities in Utah and employs thousands of people at corporate offices, sorting and fulfillment centers, delivery stations and a pharmacy distribution center. Amazon opened its first same-day fulfillment center in the state in West Jordan in May, offering certain items for rapid delivery. The Weber County center was initially described to be a connecting facility, as products make their way to others in the state.

Amazon unveils first sub-same day delivery station in SLC

Though Cyber Monday and Black Friday again set sales records this year, the Associated Press reports that after a pandemic boom in online shopping, Amazon has been scaling back its aggressive warehouse expansion plans and axing some projects in a cost-cutting move. Like other large tech companies, Amazon has also announced layoffs of around 10,000 employees in technology and corporate roles.

CNBC reported in September that the retail giant had “closed or canceled 44 facilities and delayed the opening of 25 sites” as of then, after nearly doubling its footprint between 2019 and 2021, with the Marriott-Slaterville facility listed as one with “equipment delays.”

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from KSL.com about its plans for the Weber County warehouse. Back in June, a company spokeswoman in San Francisco told the Standard-Examiner that the company had no new information to share about the project, including reasons for the delay or an expected opening date.

A worker operates a lift as it moves from aisle to aisle retrieving products inside the newly opened Amazon fulfillment center in West Jordan on Sept. 14, 2020. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

There’s one advantage to the delay: It’s giving Marriott-Slaterville time to prepare for the increased traffic congestion the city anticipates once the warehouse becomes operational.

Morris said the road the warehouse interfaces with is the same road where Business Depot Ogden sends much of its truck traffic, creating gridlock at the I-15 interchange at 400 North at certain times of the day.

“What we’re looking at is possibly two additional stoplights on 400 North,” Morris said. “We have some time to do some homework on that.”

Morris said traffic signals cost anywhere from half a million dollars to $1 million each.

“The market is so weird right now with supply issues,” he said. “One day, it’s going down and things are cheaper. And the next day, there’s a shortage.”

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After rapid pandemic expansion, Amazon delays opening new Weber County warehouse