Amazon Expands the Concrete Jungle

Amazon is building a new transportation center on the east side of I-69 just south of the Grand Parkway. Two months ago, this site was little more than dirt. Now, there’s a building with a roof, parking lots and detention ponds. I took all the pictures below on Sunday, 7/17/21.

Looking NNW across the future Amazon site toward the intersection of I-69 and SH99.
Walls are up and the roof is on. A nice touch, from a flood-reduction point of view, is the preservation of what appear to wetlands in the foreground and other portions of the site. See the construction plans here.
White Oak Creek and its floodplain (wooded area in center) form the northern boundary of the Amazon site.
According to Community Impact newspaper, Amazon hopes to open the facility late this year. The site has three detention ponds, all visible in this shot, which is looking south. They are in the foreground, upper left, and near the freeway in the upper right.
Looking SW across the new building and I-69. Note the big cleared area in the distance and see below.
No progress since the last report in early May across the highway at Signorelli’s planned medical center complex.

Amazon’s Prime Location

Amazon’s location will position the company to take advantage of growth made possible by the extension of the Grand Parkway east of I-69. A logistical bonus: the site lies less than 10 miles from Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The giant box-like structure looks like a concrete monolith from the freeway. It has all the charm of the cardboard boxes that will flow through here in a few months. But the relentless pursuit of cost-cutting makes Amazon popular, not architectural charm and uniqueness.

Community Impact says Amazon will bring about 300 full-time jobs to the Porter area, starting at $15 per hour. Amazon will open three more similar facilities in the Houston area this year.

Environment – a Fragile Package

Amazon’s relentless expansion mirrors the growth of the Houston metropolitan area itself. As a concrete jungle replaces the natural jungle, we must all remain vigilant to ensure detention ponds retain runoff in heavy rains and that wetlands are preserved. Too often, the push to pave over every square inch of property increases downstream flooding.

Development is inevitable. But flooding is not if the development is done responsibly.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/17/2021

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