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Facility will turn Mesa Gateway into hub for trade with Mexico

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PHOENIX — A facility that inspects goods being sent from American companies to Mexican consumers will open at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway International Airport, Gov. Doug Ducey announced Friday, setting up the airport as an e-commerce hub.

A timeline for the facility to open was not given, but Ducey said $230 million will be spent to develop about 360 acres adjacent to the airport near the Loop 202 and Power Road.

The new facility will directly and indirectly employ about 17,000 people.

Under a trial agreement, all online purchases from Amazon and other companies would be screened at the airport before being shipped to any airport in Mexico. It’s the first arrangement of its kind.

Mexico currently staffs a select few airports with customs officials to inspect goods, which restricts where American companies can ship items.

Because the Mesa facility would have Mexican customs officers on-site, items bought online would be able to be sent to about 100 more airports in Mexico.

Air freight trade between the two countries is a $390 million per year business. It could balloon to $650 million per year by 2025.

Mesa Mayor John Giles said the city’s airport was perfect for such a facility when the deal was being negotiated late last year.

“The Mesa Gateway Airport is really perfectly situated for this,” he said. “We’re not on the border, but we’re not far from the border, and, because it’s a former Air Force base, we’ve got … the same runways as Sky Harbor, which are excellent for international cargo and we’ve got a lot of developable property.”

In addition to 800,000 square feet of air cargo operations space, the facility will have 1 million square feet of office space, a 242- bed hotel and 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

KTAR News’ Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.