Amazon keeps growing in San Diego and Tijuana. Chances are it won’t stop

Amazon keeps growing in San Diego and Tijuana. Chances are it won’t stop

(Ana Ramirez / The San Diego Union-Tribune) Fernando Guevera, 17, and his sister, Karina, 2, ride a horse in Colonia Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana near a new Amazon warehouse. The Seattle-based company has been growing its footprint throughout the region.

Retail giant Amazon has been leasing and buying space in San Diego more than any other business and, with competition at its heels, doesn’t appear to be slowing down — especially with pandemic-induced shopping.

Seattle-based Amazon now owns or leases roughly 5.3 million square feet of warehouse space across nine facilities in San Diego County. It also has plans for another 900,000-square foot warehouse and recently added a 344,000-square-foot facility in Tijuana .

Experts who study Amazon and retail trends say the company is in a full-court press to solidify its same-day service model for Prime customers as e-commerce experienced significant growth throughout the pandemic.

It is acting quickly, they say, as Walmart rapidly transforms its locations into mini-hubs for its own same-day delivery service, Walmart+. Amazon also faces competition from Target, which owns a similar web service called Shipt. Unlike Amazon, the big boxes don’t need need to go to a local city council to get approval for a new building because all their locations already exist. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune) JaNiece Ford (r) led a small group on a tour of the new 3 million square-feet warehouse in Otay Mesa. Amazon expects to employ more than 1,500 new employees, operating in two-shifts. The facility opened on September 7th, with their new associates on the warehouse floor. All three businesses have accelerated plans as the pandemic greatly changed shopping patterns. Unable or unwilling to travel to brick-and-mortar businesses, Americans and Mexicans increasingly turned to online shopping in the last 1 1/2 years. Analysts say that the growth in e-commerce, probably more than concern over Walmart or Target, is why you will increasingly see Amazon’s presence in your neighborhood.

In 2020, more than 2 billion people purchased goods or services online, said market research firm Statista. Eleven percent of retail sales in the United States came from e-commerce before the pandemic but doubled to 22 percent at the peak of the pandemic during 2020. In Mexico, e-commerce transactions accounted for 4.9 percent of retail sales pre-pandemic but reached 8.9 percent in 2020.

Amazon has warehouses and fulfillment centers throughout the region, from National City to Vista, but its largest presence is near the U.S.-Mexican border in Otay Mesa . It opened a 3.4 million-square-foot fulfillment center in August, has begun construction on a 702,535-square-foot sorting facility nearby and bought a 63-acre site across the street in September.

There is a lot of speculation why Amazon is building so much near the border. When it opened its warehouse in Tijuana, the Internet was rife with rumors that the company was taking advantage of new tariff laws by having facilities a few miles apart in both nations. The implication was products were shipped into Mexico, disassembled and then shipped over to the U.S. Amazon has denied this. A graduate student whose research was cited on Twitter said his work was not relevant to the tariff discussion.

Real estate experts say the explanation might be simpler: Otay Mesa has the cheapest industrial land in San Diego County and is the easiest place to get plans approved. Also, the growth in e-commerce in Mexico means there is a viable market there. (Ana Ramirez / The San Diego Union-Tribune) Alina Jimenez Gutierrez, 7, plays with a stick in a pasture that faces a newly constructed 3.4 million square-foot Amazon facility on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 in Otay Mesa, CA. “This new fulfillment center (in Tijuana) is focused solely on the Mexican market and our clients in Mexico,” said Amazon spokeswoman Marisa Vano.

She said Mexico now has 10 fulfillment centers and 31 delivery stations throughout the nation, and the Tijuana facility will serve more than residents in the city — reaching customers in Mexicali, Tecate, Ensenada and Rosarito.

There is still skepticism Tijuana needs an Amazon distribution center. Flavio Olivera, former director of Tijuana’s economic department, said he thought it was unlikely that e-commerce was big enough in the Mexican city to warrant an Amazon facility, in part because its address system is less built-out than in the U.S. — meaning it’s hard to ship things to customers even if the market was there.

“I think it will be more of a support center for the Otay warehouse,” he said.

Even if Amazon isn’t physically shipping goods across the border, […]

source Amazon keeps growing in San Diego and Tijuana. Chances are it won’t stop

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