When Ryan Companies US Inc. and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce announced this past April that Jefferson County was the site selected for a John Deere regional distribution center, it was a win/win proposition for all. In what will be a boost to the local economy, area workers are readying their resumes for work in the new facility.
Besides creating more than 100 jobs, the addition of John Deere in the community is expected to add $15 million to the tax base, and spur additional area development while not significantly impacting county services.
Jefferson County was selected due to its business proactive approach and positive attitude.
Ryan Companies is a national commercial real estate business offering property and facility management, and integrated design-build. Having worked with Deere in nearby states over the past five years, Ryan developed and will own the facility. Warehouse Logistics Inc. will occupy and manage, contracting with Deere to distribute John Deere products to dealers that will serve the homeowner’s needs for home, lawn and garden equipment throughout the Southeast. Most of the products will be assembled at Deere’s plant in Greeneville. No farm equipment will be on site.
The $13-million project began on May 9, 2002, and is scheduled for completion Dec. 2. Ryan officials praised its relationship with Deere, and the commitment to deliver the facility within Deere’s schedule.
The fast-track, design-build project includes a one-story, 500,000-sq.-ft. storage-distribution structure next to a 500,000-sq.ft. outdoor storage area. All this located on a 65-acre (26.3 ha) parcel just south of Highway 92 on Flat Gap Road in an agricultural community of Jefferson City.
The project was begun with excavation and remediation of sinkholes. Pat Barrett, project manager recalled dealing with the unpredictable sinkholes. “We could determine most of them before we started, but some of them we came upon through excavation. The largest sinkhole was almost 200 ft. in diameter. Most of them were closed depressions. The open throat sinkholes are not firm underneath, so we shored up with Geo Grid, a plastic type grid which is like a net, which we laid down to prevent material from sinking. Also, we used Geo Fabric, which is permeable, but more of a solid material. We added stone and good material compacted.”
He added, “We have been using as much John Deere equipment as possible, especially off-road haul trucks. To take care of those depressions took a lot of manpower. We also used Caterpillar 631 scrapers, Caterpillar D1, D6 and D9 dozers, and Caterpillar graders.”
We got all this equipment from our subcontractor, Whaley and Sons. They own some of their equipment, and lease the rest.
“Next we erected the steel with a different subcontractor, Design Build Associates Inc. of Davenport, IA, a pre-engineered structure company. Then the metal structure, interior finishes for a small office area of sheet rock, dropped ceiling and lights, floor finishes and carpeting. The warehouse will have concrete floors.”
Barrett reported that construction is moving smoothly according to schedule, and the results will live up to John Deere’s high standards.