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BNSF planning massive intermodal, logistics hub near Phoenix

Railway wins $49 million land auction in Arizona

BNSF purchased the site near Phoenix with plans to transform it into a multimodal rail transportation, logistics and shipping hub, state records show. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

BNSF Railway Co. has acquired a 3,508-acre piece of land in the Phoenix region with plans to develop it as its Western hub, according to state records.

BNSF purchased the property last week for $49.1 million when it was the winning and sole bidder for land at an Arizona State Land Department auction.

The railway said Arizona is an important area for economic growth and the land is a good long-term investment. 

“This land is adjacent to the BNSF rail line [in Phoenix’s West Valley] and BNSF determined it could be a good long-term investment,” the company said in an email to FreightWaves. “BNSF looks forward to working with state and local governments in Arizona, as well as customers, to determine how best to develop the land into an economic engine in the West Valley.” 

BNSF did not provide details about its plans for the site, but public records in Arizona show that the railway company is proposing a logistics park along the north portion, a logistics center through the middle section and an intermodal facility at the southeast segment.

The property is located northeast of state Route 60 and the existing BNSF railway between the municipalities of Wittmann and Surprise in Phoenix’s West Valley, which has some of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.

The 3,508-acre site is primarily vacant and undeveloped land used for livestock, according to state records. 

The land is also adjacent to a 500-acre site BNSF bought in 2004 and is currently zoned for rural residential. An annexation into Surprise or a Maricopa County rezoning to industrial with a major general plan amendment would be required for the development.

BNSF operates 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and also operates in three Canadian provinces. BNSF transports consumer goods, grain and agricultural products, low-sulfur coal and industrial goods such as petroleum, chemicals, housing materials, food and beverages.

Watch: FreightWaves discusses the outlook for rail industrial freight with Stealth Startup’s Harris Ligon.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]