A tranquil scene of green fields now graces properties in Fresno and Visalia, masking how the lands are battlegrounds for a big prize: a Nordstrom distribution center.
Intended to be an e-commerce packaging and distribution center, the $110 million, 1-million-square-foot building would be a project also creating 1,000 jobs – and possibly more – for the winning city.
The Seattle-based retailer has identified 55 acres in the North Pointe Business Park in southwest Fresno. The park is along Highway 99. In Visalia, the targeted property is in the Visalia Industrial Park, close to the interchange of Highways 99 and 198.
Both cities appear to have advantages. For instance, Fresno officials say Fresno Yosemite International Airport offers direct flights to Seattle, location of Nordstrom’s corporate headquarters. Visalia, on the other hand, has cheaper land. In Visalia, it is $10.5 million; in Fresno, it is $12.5 million.
The first phase is what Nordstrom calls its West Coast E-Commerce Fulfillment Center. Workers would take online orders, fill them, then ship them. Beyond the 1,000 full-time jobs, there would be an additional 200 to 450 seasonal jobs, as well as construction jobs getting the site ready.
Down the road, a possible second development phase would create a distribution center that would supply brick-and-mortar Nordstrom stores. The distribution center would create an additional 875 jobs for the winning city, making the total employment potentially 1,875 jobs.
Officials in Fresno and Tulare counties are working with their respective largest cities to help bolster bids. Nordstrom has narrowed its choices to the two central San Joaquin Valley cities, though the possibility of placing the facility out of state is a third option.