Representatives of Contra Costa County, developer Scannell Properties Inc., Ironworkers Local 378, Overaa Construction and Chevron Richmond broke ground Wednesday on a cutting-edge fulfillment center project in North Richmond that will lead the nation in fastest transition to zero-emission trucks.
The 29-acre site at 177 Par Blvd. is the location of the 325,000 square-foot project, which will “serve the region with a fleet of clean vehicles,” according to Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia. FedEx is expected to be a major new tenant of the new site.
The two warehouse fulfillment structures set to be built are expected to open in mid-2023. The truck fleet is mandated to be one-third zero emission upon opening, and 100 percent zero mission within five years after opening, said Gioia, calling it “the most stringent zero emission requirements of any fulfillment warehouse in the U.S.”
To feature their several shared energy transition projects, Chevron and Cummins collaborated to feature a hydrogen truck during Wednesday’s ground-breaking ceremony. The Cummins truck was brought by officials from the Chevron Richmond, which plans to supply hydrogen from 30 of its fuel stations statewide within four years, including at a new Chevron Energy Plaza that will be constructed a few blocks from the North Richmond fulfillment center project.
The Chevron Energy Plaza will “supply hydrogen and other fuel streams for our customers in Richmond and North Richmond to reduce emissions in local communities,” said Tolly Graves, general manager of Chevron Richmond.
Chevron also recently invested in a Raven SR Inc. project to build a modular waste-to-green hydrogen project and renewable synthetic fuel facilities in California and beyond. One of those facilities is being built at the Republic Services landfill in Richmond. Hydrogen fuel stations will be supplied in part by excess hydrogen production capacity at the Richmond Refinery, as well as from the waste-to-green production units.
Richmond and Contra Costa County aim to be a leader in the energy transition, “and we want to be a part of that,” Graves said.
“We look forward to working more with Scannell and others to continue growing lower carbon solutions for transportation and goods movement,” Graves added. “Chevron believes that the future of energy is lower carbon, and we are focused on two main areas here in Richmond: first, reducing the carbon intensity of our operations and second, growing the availability of fuels, such as hydrogen, that will power zero emission vehicles – such as the Cummins truck you see here today.”
The Scannell project received staunch support from Don Gilmore, executive director of the Community Housing Development Corp. and chair of the North Richmond Municipal Advisory Committee. Gilmore credited Gioia for championing environmental health.
“He made a commitment that if we got anymore businesses like this, he was going to make sure they get to zero emission,” Gilmore said. “He kept his word in doing that.”
Overaa Construction is leading construction on the fulfillment center project, which will be built with local union labor. Jason Lindsey, president of Ironworkers 378, praised the partnerships that brought good-paying union jobs to local community members.
In addition, Scannell and the County agreed to ensure the project includes off-site roadway enhancements, traffic calming infrastructure to prevent trucks from entering residential communities, and an investment of $500,000 into a solar energy project to benefit the North Richmond community.
“We are very proud at Scannell to be at the cutting edge of some very tectonic changes in our industry, with zero emission vehicles and delivery fleets,” said Mac Carlsen, development manager for Scannell Properties. “Everyone is aware here of the growth of e-commerce, everyone sees our supply shortages, it affects everyone ….What we really do need is more supply of warehouses and distribution centers that can support our economy, keep giving people the goods that they need. This project, here with the help of everyone assembled, is proof that we can do this responsibly and effectively.”
Gioia added that he believes the Scannell project will inspire other similar projects to achieve zero-emission status.