The roar of large earthmoving equipment roared in the background as community leaders and company officials gathered Wednesday afternoon for the groundbreaking of a state-of-the-art FedEx parcel delivery center on the southwest corner of Merrill and Flight avenues, just east of Chino Airport.
The Chino facility is slated to open in June 2021.
It is expected to employ 430 people initially, increasing to more than 680 at full operation.
The parcel delivery center is expected to handle 30,000 packages an hour and will also include large package capabilities for items like sofas and trampolines, said Tim Weber, district managing director for FedEx Ground, during the ceremony.
Mr. Weber said package volumes for FedEx Ground have doubled in the last decade, with the company opening 17 new hubs and expanding or relocating more than 500 local facilities since 2005. He said electronic commerce continues to be the main driver of that growth.
The 505,000-square-foot facility, to be located on 74.4 acres that was formerly a dairy, will include a sorting/distribution building and four ancillary structures, including a gateway building, a maintenance building and two guardhouses. It will include a $100 million conveyer system.
Also planned for the facility are several “green” features, including the use of only electric switchers to move truck trailers back and forth from the loading dock to the yard, a $3.6 million solar panel system and 20 electric charging stations to energize 80 vehicles.
The project will also include approximately $5.5 million to improve infrastructure surrounding the site, including reconstruction of the intersection of Grove and Merrill avenues, raising it three feet to remedy flooding in the area and installing a traffic signal there, Courtney Lehman, project manager representing developer Scannell Properties, told the city council on Sept. 24, when the project was approved.
Scannell also plans to install traffic signals at Grove and Merrill avenues, Merrill and Flight avenues, and Remington and Flight avenues, as well as complete a half-street from an interior Chino Airport road to Grove Avenue.
Council members said in September that this was infrastructure work that the city could not currently afford to do.
In July, the Chino Planning Commission put four additional conditions on the project:
●Prohibiting large trucks with three or more axles from using Kimball Avenue between Euclid and Hellman avenues
●Committing to no air freight use at Chino Airport
●Paying an $833,800 penalty to convert the property from agricultural zoning to light industrial
●Depositing $5 million in escrow, giving the city of Chino bargaining power to work with the city of Ontario on future improvements to Merrill Avenue
Welcome to town
San Bernardino County Supervisor Chairman Curt Hagman, whose 4th District represents Chino and Chino Hills, delivered the first FedEx package to Mr. Weber at the groundbreaking. It contained a certificate of recognition from the county.
Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa said the groundbreaking was a celebration of a project “years in the making.” She also reminded the guests of the site’s rural heritage. She said the new facility is going up “where cattle feed was grown to fuel a dairy industry.”
She told the FedEx officials they will become part of a “tight-knit community” with restaurants and other businesses ready to serve their employees.
“We’re a competitive bunch,” the mayor said, encouraging FedEx’s employees to sharpen their athletic and gaming skills for the city’s annual Corporate Challenge.