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SHERIDAN — If all goes as planned, FedEx will be operating a package sorting and distribution center at the corner of KROE Lane and East Ridge Road east of Sheridan by late summer.
On Monday night, the city Planning Commission voted to recommend approval by City Council of a 2.23 acre annexation of county land into city limits on which the FedEx center will be built. The vote was 5-0, and there were no written or verbal objections by residents or businesses within half mile of the proposed annexation.
The land will be zoned M-1 Industrial.
Walt Harder, owner of Harder-Diesslin Development Group out of Salida, Colo., was at the meeting to discuss his plans for developing the site. Harder purchased the land Monday and will lease the property and structure to FedEx Ground, which will operate the center.
“I build these sites all over the western U.S., generally. We’ve also built one in Riverton, Evanston, and we’re bidding one in Cody. We’ve had wonderful business in Wyoming; we like working up here,” Harder said.
The $2.5 million project will include a 12,000-square-foot facility that will house a conveyor belt and up to 15 FedEx vans.
To begin with, one or two semitrailers will arrive each night to drop off a load of packages and pick up the empty semitrailer from the previous night’s delivery. The packages will be unloaded onto the conveyor belt, sorted and loaded into the delivery vans for delivery around the region.
It is expected three to five delivery vans will be in operation for the first few years with hopes that up to 15 will be needed in the next 20 years.
Harder said he will use local subcontractors to build the center and that growth of the site over the next 20 years will produce eight to 20 new jobs for drivers and driver’s management.
“We are considering ways to be able to expand this site if it grows past our initial expectations, but we do these things with a 20-year view, and in 20 years we expect to have all 15 vans running fully occupied,” Harder said. “If it goes past that, we’ll explore expansion possibilities within that site first. Otherwise, we’ll build something new within the town.”
The site will not include any public interface, Harder said, which means it will not be a drop-off location for FedEx packages.
City Planning and Development Director Robert Briggs said the purpose of being annexed into city limits was to be able to use city services for construction and ongoing operation of the building. There is already a water line along East Ridge Road that will be used, and the sewer line will be extended across KROE Lane.
KROE Lane and East Ridge Road have been annexed by the city and are maintained by city crews, including garbage service.
Briggs said the area already includes a mix of industrial uses with the Coca-Cola bottling company and the landfill nearby. The area has also been set aside for light industrial use in the city-county future land use plan.
“The package sorting and distribution center will fit in with what is already going on out there,” Briggs said.
Harder expects to begin breaking ground within 10 days and to have the project built and in operation by Aug. 15.