Freeport West Builds ARA Development in West Valley City

When fully developed in 2019 — based on current economic forecasts, the ARA is expected to create 3,000 jobs and be home to five structures.

📅   Thu March 17, 2016 - West Edition
Irwin Rapoport - CEG CORRESPONDENT


Big-D Construction photo
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Construction is proceeding rapidly as Freeport West Industrial Properties continues to develop 130 acres of land in West Valley City, Utah, just outside Salt Lake City.
Big-D Construction photo 1 Construction is proceeding rapidly as Freeport West Industrial Properties continues to develop 130 acres of land in West Valley City, Utah, just outside Salt Lake City.
Big-D Construction photo
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Construction is proceeding rapidly as Freeport West Industrial Properties continues to develop 130 acres of land in West Valley City, Utah, just outside Salt Lake City. Big-D Construction photo
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When fully developed in 2019 — based on current economic forecasts, the ARA is expected to create 3,000 jobs and be home to five structures.
Big-D Construction photo
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Construction on the 418,612 sq.-ft. (38,890 sq m) ARA-A started last October and is scheduled to be complete this May. Big-D Construction photo
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The work saw Big-D place 90,000 tons (81.647 t) of earth and bring in 550 tons (499 t) of steel, 630 tons (572 t) of rebar, 38,000 tons (34,473 t) of concrete, 25,000 sq. ft. (2,322 sq m) of glass. Big-D Construction photo
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Freeport West, which received the CCIM Business Excellence Award for “Developer of the Year” award in 2014, has developed rigorous construction standards for its properties.
Big-D Construction photo
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The development is tied to an “Economic Development Area” that brings together the city, Salt Lake County and other stakeholders that collect taxes.
Big-D Construction photo
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Salt Lake County is helping by covering part of the cost to build the storm drains and retention basin that is required, the relocation and installation of various utility lines, and the widening of adjacent roads to

Construction is proceeding rapidly as Freeport West Industrial Properties continues to develop 130 acres of land in West Valley City, Utah, just outside Salt Lake City.

“With this new industrial campus enterprise, we are adding capacity for new large-scale storage, warehousing, distribution, office and showroom space within the Wasatch Front, where it has been tapped out,” said Bradley J. Ross, Freeport West executive managing director. “The origin of the name ARA means 'brings rain.' It describes the remarkable opportunity the property affords for attracting the world's largest manufacturers and distributors to our state and creating thousands of new jobs locally. There is a need for large-scale buildings to compete with California and other neighboring states.”

He added that the need for large-scale industrial storage facilities will attract businesses from across the country to service a growing consumer market in the western states.

When fully developed in 2019 — based on current economic forecasts, the ARA is expected to create 3,000 jobs and be home to five structures. Approximately one mi. of roads will service the businesses. The ground breaking for the project took place on May 29, 2014.

The company, founded in 1963, is one of the state's largest developers and owner of commercial properties. Freeport West also has properties in California, Arizona, and Nevada. ARA is well located in terms of existing roads and is just west of Rocky Mountain Raceway.

The project will consist of ARA-A, B, C, D and E, all to be built to schedule. They are all single-story buildings. A paved ground-level parking lot will be built to accommodate roughly 3,000 cars and truck trailers. The whole development was designed by Hilton Williams Architects.

The buildings are being placed on a relatively flat field that has no drainage issues. There are no existing utilities on the land, which gives construction crews a relatively free hand to operate. As the buildings go up, utilities will be extended onto the property.

ARA's initial structure — ARA-B, located at 6755 West and the 2100 South Frontage Road in West Valley, was completed in September 2015, and opened for business in the same month. The 500,000 sq.-ft. (46,452 sq m) distribution center took nine months to build and is currently available for lease. Big-D Construction was the contractor for this project.

Construction on the 418,612 sq.-ft. (38,890 sq m) ARA-A started last October and is scheduled to be complete this May. Big-D also was awarded the contract to put up this building.

“West Valley City has undergone a successful redevelopment initiative over the past few years,” said Mayor Ron Bigelow, “and this latest investment will significantly enhance these efforts, while also bringing significant recognition and dividends to the entire state. Freeport West is a valued partner to West Valley City, and having ARA within our city limits exactly fits our vision of bringing investment, economic progress, job growth and energy to Utah's second largest city.”

The development is tied to an “Economic Development Area” that brings together the city, Salt Lake County and other stakeholders that collect taxes. These jurisdictions have agreed to a plan that will rebate some of the property taxes over the next 15 years as an incentive to help Freeport West to fully develop the project.

Salt Lake County is helping by covering part of the cost to build the storm drains and retention basin that is required, the relocation and installation of various utility lines, and the widening of adjacent roads to the development.

ARA-C is expected to occupy 634,260 sq. ft. (58,925 sq m), while ARA-D will have 401,263 sq. ft. (37,279 sq m) and ARA-E 361,770 sq. ft. (33,610 sq m).

Freeport West, which received the CCIM Business Excellence Award for “Developer of the Year” award in 2014, has developed rigorous construction standards for its properties.

“When constructing a building, our primary focus is to use the highest building standards,” said Justin Harryman, Freeport West's construction manager. “We use energy efficient LED lighting, insulated single ply white roof (for heat reflection), Low E reflective glass, super smooth reinforced floors, ESFR fire systems with booster pumps and optimal column spacing for warehouse and distribution purposes. Another goal of ours is the overall look of the outside of our buildings. The buildings are designed with glass entrances as a primary focal point.

“We do all of our building maintenance with our own team,” he added. “That way we have control of the final product. We take pride in taking care of our tenants and ensuring each job is done right. We are a single-owner company and building care is an important focus of ours.”

“Our architect has designed more than 10 buildings for us,” said Harryman. “Our long-term relationship has made the design and construction process simple. With the contractors we use for each building, there are always conversations regarding future development and how we can reduce construction costs.”

When fully built the ARA project will see the use of roughly 2,500 tons (2,268 t) of steel, 150,000 tons (136,078 t) of concrete, 130,000 sq. ft. (12,077 sq m) of glass, and 2,700 tons (2,449 t) of rebar.

“It's always a challenge to build in the Utah winters with the extremely cold temperatures and snow,” said Jared Brooks, Big-D's senior project manager. “With roughly 17,000 cubic yards of concrete, you have to manage through cold temperatures, additives, protection and curing. Hilton Williams and Greg Neiswender with HWA always put together a great design that is easy to follow, so there is very little need to make any changes to the design.

“With this style of building,” he added, “we have several crews that work at various points simultaneously, such as a footing and foundation crew, slab on grade crew, and a tilt forming crew — all working in different parts of the job and keeping ahead of the trades behind them.”

The earthwork and utilities for ARA-B were completed by Midgley Construction Inc.

“They prepare the building pad and cap the top surface with a crushed concrete road base material that holds up extremely well,” said Brooks. “Utilities for ARA-A were installed separately as permitting has to take place for each job.”

The work saw Big-D place 90,000 tons (81.647 t) of earth and bring in 550 tons (499 t) of steel, 630 tons (572 t) of rebar, 38,000 tons (34,473 t) of concrete, 25,000 sq. ft. (2,322 sq m) of glass.

The construction had anywhere from 15 to 65 Big-D and subcontractor personnel on site, working eight to 10-hour day shifts on weekdays. The subcontractors included: Champion Fabrication for rebar; Wasatch Ornamental for structural steel; Steel Encounters for joist and deck; J&M Steel for steel erection; DAW for doors and hardware; Moffat Plastering for exterior insulation and finish; Allweather Waterproofing for roof insulation and membrane; Alpine Caulking for floor and joint sealing; Aladdin Skylights; Wasatch Door Company for overhead doors; B&D Glass; Jordan Enterprises for framing and drywall; Thomas & Measles for painting; Johnson Quality Air for HVAC; Chaparral Plumbing; The Safety Team for fire sprinklers; and Coke Electric.

“The crews worked very well together on this project,” said Brooks. “There is a lot of interfacing and coordination that needs to happen in order for the completed project to be a quality acceptable structure,” said Brooks. “A master schedule is continually updated and monitored, as well as weekly subcontractor meetings to discuss safety, progress, conflicts, and the schedule.

“With ARA Building B starting so late in the year and during the winter months,” he said, “we decided to only pour the perimeter bay slab on grade concrete where the tilt panels need to be formed. The interior bays were left to pour after the roof was installed. This was something we learned from previous projects that start in the winter. This keeps the square footage of cold weather concreting to a manageable size and allows for the tilt wall construction to begin very quick.”

The work site is 12 mi. (19.3 km) from Big-D's main office/yard. On this project, the company used two Gradall 10,000 lb. (4,536 kg) forklifts for the unloading and hauling materials.

“We would prefer to own our own forklifts and prefer to purchase them locally,” said Brooks. “We typically rent a boom lift for activities associated with tilt erection and a scissor lift for the skylight installation. These are normally rented from H&E Equipment in Salt Lake City. The subcontractors supplied the rest of the equipment for the job, and many of them rented the equipment from local dealers.”

On the ARA-B project Midgley Construction used Cat D6 dozers with GPS guidance, Cat 563 compactors, Cat 330D excavators and Cat 140H graders, all owned by the company.

“The job went well,” said company owner Bryan Midgley. “We were able to save the owner a substantial amount of money on the import fill materials cost. Our equipment performed well, especially with GPS guidance.”

Midgley Construction purchases its equipment locally, particularly from Wheeler Machinery in Salt Lake City — the local Cat dealer.

The equipment and vehicles were thoroughly checked out prior to arrival on the site, and the crews are dealing with daily wear and tear issues.

“On our own equipment, flat tires seem to be the biggest issue as we are running them over a lot of different terrains,” said Brooks. “Our in-house mechanic is very good as responding to mechanical problems and providing general service. They are usually able to respond the same day we experience a problem. We are required to conduct safety and maintenance inspections on the equipment daily and keep a log of this activity. We refuel our vehicles with visits from a vehicle.”