Ready to Rumble: Crews Construct Chain Sport Center

Wed September 18, 2013 - Southeast Edition
Cindy Riley


Crews maneuver 293,000 yds. (267,919.2 m) of dirt.
Crews maneuver 293,000 yds. (267,919.2 m) of dirt.
Crews maneuver 293,000 yds. (267,919.2 m) of dirt. Site work includes installing load bearing tilt-up concrete framing for the new building. Lifting the tilt wall panels proves to be a challenging aspect of the job. A 350-ton (317.5 t) crane lifts the tilt panels.

Construction crews in Alabama are working to complete a new facility for a sporting goods chain that will move current operations from Birmingham to Alabaster. Hibbett Sports, Inc. purchased a nearly 60-acre site at Shelby West Corporate Park. Construction of a more than 400,000 sq. ft. (37,161.2 sq m) structure is underway.

Work began on the Hibbett Wholesale and Logistics Center in December 2012, and should be completed later this year. The project will include the construction of a new single-story structure that will measure approximately 412,000 sq. ft. (38,276.1 sq m), and will be expandable to 88,000 sq. ft. (8,175.5 sq m). The work includes site development along with a new conventional structural steel frame and load bearing tilt-up concrete frame building. The frame includes an expandable end-wall to accommodate future expansion. In addition site work includes infrastructure work such as grading and utilities, site lighting, paving and landscaping and an air-conditioned office area.

The site was undeveloped and had to be cleared and graded for the new facility,” said Robert McElroy, senior project manager of general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie. “At peak, there were over 40 pieces of heavy earth moving equipment on site to meet the project deadlines.

“Completing the site work during the winter months has been the most challenging for the project,” McElroy said. “But lifting 2,682 linear feet of tilt wall panels is no small task either.”

Brasfield & Gorrie superintendent Barney Lucas said crews had to maneuver 293,000 yds. (267,919.2 m) of dirt and 9,042 yds. (8,268 m) of concrete during the construction process. A 350-ton (317.5 t) crane for lifting the tilt panels was among the equipment used for site work and concrete activates. Machinery on site includes Caterpillar, Komatsu and John Deere.

Brasfield & Gorrie said work is approximately 50 percent finished. Crews are working to complete the tilt panels. Roller compacted concrete paving and asphalt paving, in addition to the interior build-out have yet to be completed.

“The specific services we’ve performed include architect, civil engineer, landscape architect, land surveying, geotechnical engineer and construction materials testing — a service in which the compaction of the soil is spot verified, compressive strength of the concrete is tested and welds are inspected, said Cole Williams, a civil engineer of Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood.

“We’re happy with it so far, but it’s still under construction, so the true test will be a few years down the road. As with any site design, the main challenge is to balance the owner’s needs against what the site will require to meet those needs. This included creating an efficient layout, balancing the earthwork, managing the soil material and meeting the building’s utility needs all in accordance with the local municipal building code requirements.”

The Logistics Center, which will offer parking for more than 200 employees and 250 trailers, accounts for about 36 acres of improvements.

“Due to the sheer size of this site,” said Williams, “one of the biggest issues is to manage the grading needs. The goal is to balance the cut to fill volumes of the earthwork within the limits of the site. It can be very costly to either haul excess material off site or to borrow material from another source and have it trucked in. Also, the Shelby West Industrial Park has some very specific landscape requirements, so the main challenge was to provide the owner an aesthetically pleasing landscape pallet that meets the parks requirements and is budget friendly.”

Hibbett is spending more than $25 million on the project, located near the Shelby County Airport.

“The Shelby County airport has been a good neighbor to the project site,” said McElroy. “The project team submitted to the FAA and gained their approval for activities in a timely manner.”

The move will double the size of the company operations, in an effort to ultimately reach as many as 1,500 stores. The business has outgrown its current facility on Industrial Lane, but the site is landlocked so expanding at that location wasn’t an option. Hibbett’s corporate offices also were located on Industrial Lane and recently relocated to Birmingham’s Oxmoor Valley.

As for the financial impact to the area, officials say the move will bring about 170 jobs to Shelby County. The current center employs about 150 people, and Hibbett plans to add jobs at the new facility. Hibbett is receiving more than $2 million in state and local tax abatements over 10 years.

A number of cities competed for the Hibbett project, but the Shelby County Economic and Industrial Development Authority (SCEIDA) worked closely with the city of Alabaster and EGS Commercial Real Estate to help secure the facility by providing timely responses to information requested by the company.

“This project will provide a significant capital investment of at least $40 million, and add a successful public company with a notable history of community involvement to our expanding list of new employers in Alabama’s fastest-growing county,” said James Dedes, executive director of SCEIDA.

“Selection factors included the quality of the site at Shelby West Corporate Park, which provides convenient access to the Interstate 65 corridor, the availability of a skilled labor force and our success in crafting an incentive package in partnership with the city of Alabaster that provided a competitive economic advantage for Shelby County,” said Dedes.

When completed, the new structure will replace the existing 180,000 sq. ft. (16,722.5 sq m) facility the company currently leases in adjacent Jefferson County.