Under Construction

Under Construction: Top Facility Projects of July 2023

Facilities Management Advisor’s “Under Construction” series highlights some of the latest, most interesting facility project announcements every month.

Maritime Learning Lab

While many viewers were diving into the JAWSome content of Shark Week on TV, the South Carolina Aquarium was breaking ground on a new education facility at the Charleston Maritime Center. Situated along the waterfront of the Charleston Harbor and just a short walk from the aquarium, the new Boeing Learning Lab will feature 8,500 square feet of educational space that includes four indoor classrooms, one open-air classroom, a broadcast studio to conduct virtual programs, and office space for aquarium staff.

Project rendering and shark cover image courtesy of South Carolina Aquarium 

Organization: South Carolina Aquarium 
Location: Charleston, S.C.
Type of project: Renovation
Size: 8,500 square feet
Estimated cost: ~$7 million
Status: Ground broken July 25
Expected completion: Fall 2024

Interesting tidbit: The South Carolina Aquarium is home to the deepest tank in North America. The two-story, 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank allows visitors to practically rub noses with sharks and wave a flipper hello to Caretta, a 220-pound loggerhead sea turtle. The aquarium was also the first in the country to open with a fully formed education master plan in 2000. However, it has consistently faced space limitations while striving to provide STEM-based education programs to Charleston students of all ages. The Boeing Learning Lab will allow the aquarium to double the number of students it serves annually.

Quote: President and CEO Kevin Mills said the new lab is all about “unlocking the waterfront and all the wonder that lies within, filling the minds of curious kids with knowledge and igniting a lifelong passion to care for our natural world.”

More details available here.

Gillette Stadium Overhaul

Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL’s New England Patriots and the MLS’s New England Revolution, recently provided an update and previously unreleased renderings of the stadium’s “most dramatic” renovation project since it opened in 2002.

Rendering courtesy of Gillette Stadium

Organization: Gillette Stadium/owner Kraft Group
Location: Foxborough, Mass.
Type of project: Renovation
Size: Entire north end
Estimated cost: $250 million
Status: Started in early 2022
Expected completion: Prior to 2023 NFL season

Interesting tidbit: The renderings depict a completely reimagined Enel Plaza and grand staircase leading into the stadium; the new 22-story signature lighthouse with a 360-degree observation deck; full stadium connections on all levels; the remodeled Row of Honor for military servicemembers; new premium spaces, including the Bud Light Celebration Beer Hall and G-P Atrium; new and improved concession locations; additional restrooms; and more fan amenities. Gillette Stadium will also boast the largest outdoor stadium video board in the country. Measuring 22,200 square feet (about half an acre), the video board features a curved radius and is over five times the size of the board it replaced.

Quote: Jim Nolan, COO of Kraft Sports + Entertainment, said, “We are eager for guests at Patriots and Revolution games and concerts and special events to experience and enjoy these transformational upgrades as we continue with our next twenty years in the stadium.”

More details available here.

Delta Pilot Training Facility

Did you catch the recent story about a Delta plane landing safely without its front landing gear? Talk about a good pilot! Well, it just so happens that Delta is making an investment in its future pilots, as well as in one of its major hubs, by building a new pilot training facility next to the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Rendering courtesy of Delta

Organization: Delta 
Location: Salt Lake City
Type of project: New build
Size: 47,000 square feet
Estimated cost: N/A
Status: Ground broken June 29
Expected completion: 2025

Interesting tidbit: Delta said this is its first significant training facility investment outside of its Atlanta headquarters, which opened its first pilot training facility in 1968. Measuring about half the area of a Manhattan city block, the new facility will include four high ceiling bays with full-motion flight simulators, five classrooms, 10 briefing rooms, and space for expansion. This announcement follows the May opening of five new gates on Concourse A-east at the SLC airport, where Delta operates more flights than all other carriers combined. The airline also maintains training facilities for flight attendants in SLC, supporting thousands of training events annually.

Quote: John Laughter, Delta’s EVP and chief of operations, said, “As we expand our operations, Salt Lake City plays a pivotal role as a core hub within our network.”  

More details available here.

Kraft Heinz Automated Distribution Center

The Kraft Heinz Co. announced it is building one of the largest automated consumer packaged goods (CPG) distribution centers in North America. According to the food and beverage giant, the 775,000 square-foot national distribution facility will feature state-of-the-art automation technology and national railway access, enabling Kraft Heinz to drive greater supply chain efficiencies and distribute its products to retail and foodservice customers faster than ever.

Rendering courtesy of Kraft Heinz

Organization: Kraft Heinz
Location: DeKalb, Ill.
Type of project: New build
Size: 775,000 square feet
Estimated cost: Over $400 million
Design-build team: Trammell Crow Co., Krusinski Construction Co., and Daifuku
Status: Announced July 13
Expected completion: 2025

Interesting tidbit: The facility’s design includes a 24/7 automated storage and retrieval system with the ability to drive twice the volume for Kraft Heinz customers, distributing more than 60% of the company’s foodservice business and approximately 30% of all dry goods. It is also expected to help Kraft Heinz achieve its broader ESG goals through sustainable technology and solutions to reduce the waste produced at the facility and minimize its overall environmental impact.

Quote: Erin Mitchell, VP of logistics and head of network restructuring, said, “We’re driving end-to-end transformation across our entire supply chain, investing in automated technology and digitized solutions to increase the agility of our logistics operations.”

More details available here.

Margaritaville’s First Ski Resort

Calling all Parrot Heads! Margaritaville, the hotel, restaurant, and franchise brand owned by legendary beach rocker Jimmy Buffett, is offering an alternative to the typical tropical getaway. The brand is launching Margaritaville Resort Lake Tahoe, an all-suite resort that’ll be its first located in a ski destination.

Courtesy: JimmyBuffett.com

Organizations: Margaritaville and Davidson Resorts
Location: South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Type of project: Renovation
Size: 399 rooms, starting at 599 square feet 
Estimated cost: “Multimillion dollar”
Designer: McBride Co.
Status: Announced July 12
Expected completion: Year-end 2023

Interesting tidbit: The renovation project is a top-to-bottom overhaul of the existing Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. Design elements will incorporate Margaritaville staples with a Lake Tahoe twist; for example, the signature 13-foot flip flop will be a bright emerald green, inspired by Emerald Bay, while a large double-sided fireplace area with margarita glass chandeliers will provide a gathering place after a day on the slopes.

Quote: Steve Contos, EVP of managing company Davidson Resorts, said, “With the property’s opening, we invite travelers to experience the escapism of Margaritaville in a whole new setting.”

More details available here.

Honorable Mentions

Do you have a major project announcement you’d like considered for the “Under Construction” series? Please contact Editor Joe Bebon at JBebon@BLR.com.

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