On our company’s list of herculean accomplishments, this e-commerce center is right up there: a massive 850,000 SF distribution complex, 55 feet high, incorporating 76,000 cubic yards of concrete and 11,000 tons of structural steel. The 93-acre site had no previous construction history or offsite civil work to connect the location to Tucson’s city transportation system. And the timetable was high speed—12 months from start to substantial completion, with the challenge of several tenant-requested changes along the way.
The key to managing the situation was, of course, excellent communication among all parties. Early on, we established open lines and clear reporting pathways with the architects and subcontractors—including several of the tenant’s own subcontractors, who added approximately 700 employees to the site. We also set up a series of earlyaccess turnovers, enabling the tenants’ subcontractors to come in and start installing equipment. The intricate schedule was based on a six-day workweek, but the site was open nearly 24/7.
Despite the challenges, we met our budgetary goals and planned date of substantial completion. The e-commerce center—now connected by the access road we built— features two levels of order processing and packaging for shipment, while the other two-thirds feature four levels of robotic storage platforms, where product is inducted and picked to fulfill orders. Amazon has since doubled the number of employees, a substantial boost to the local economy.