In Distribution & Warehouse, Industrial & Manufacturing
Riverport Trade Center | Poettker Construction

St. Louis CNR Magazine | Jan-Feb 2023

NorthPoint Development is making a $66 million warehouse distribution investment in Maryland Heights known as Riverport Trade Center.

With Breese, IL-based Poettker Construction as the general contractor, the three-warehouse, nearly 725,000-square-foot project is located on 50 acres at 13955 Riverport Place Drive, four minutes south of Interstate 70 in the heart of St. Louis’ industrial submarket.

Construction on the project began in October 2021. Northport Regional Vice President of the Midwest Region Mark Militzer says buildings one and two are finished. Building three is wrapping up in early 2023.

“This Class A, three-building warehouse distribution project was a first for us in this market,” Militzer said. “We built two buildings simultaneously in Hazelwood TradePort, but never three at the same time in the same industrial park. Riverport Trade Center is evidence of the record industrial warehouse and distribution space demand that was occurring post-pandemic. This project is in response to the record leasing activity in the St. Louis metro area. It definitely influenced our decision to construct all three facilities at once.”

Light industrial and distribution users are signing on as Riverport Trade Center tenants, according to Militzer. So far, the list of tenants includes a low-voltage electrical materials distributor, a countertop distributor, a tenant with conveyor belts, a casket manufacturer, a HEPA filter manufacturer and one food-grade tenant.

Large storefronts, wall bump-outs and a plethora of windows to welcome natural daylighting are stand-out features of the warehouse development’s design, Militzer says. Each of the three buildings feature 36-foot clear heights. In total, the buildings offer 79 dock positions and seven drive-in docks. Riverport Trade Center’s parking lot includes more than 640 car stalls and 160 trailer stalls.

Poettker Construction Vice President of Project Management Walker Gusewelle and Project Manager Lucas Hemann have been leading the project team. Hemann says each of the three warehouse buildings varies in size: building one spans 249,500 square feet, build two totals 160,070 square feet and building three encompasses 312,000 square feet.

One of the site challenges was connected with the industrial park’s location just east of the Missouri River and the levee.

“There were specialty conditions,” said Hemann. “Soils were a concern. They were very silty, with a mix of sand, fines and thick, fatty clays. Due to those conditions, we installed aggregate piers – compacted stone columns – beneath all of our building foundations to help with the bearing pressure of the soil.”

Also due to these specialty conditions, Poettker utilized 24 inches of rock beneath building slabs and eight to 10 inches of rock beneath the concrete and asphalt paving– two to three times what would normally be required, Hemann said – to support the loads.

Riverport Trade Center’s location just 1.5 miles north of Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre necessitated construction of an emergency access road to carry concert goers to and from the entertainment venue throughout the project’s construction schedule, especially during the spring and summer of 2022. The road wound through the project site.

Sequencing proved to be another project-related challenge, as all three warehouse buildings were coming to fruition at the same time.

“We’d be working on the foundation for building three while pouring the slab on building two and performing tilt-up concrete panel work on building one,” Gusewelle said. “Concrete availability was also somewhat of a challenge.”

The mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection trades functioned in design-build mode on the Riverport Trade Center project, according to Hemann, as the building systems were specific to each building and tenant finish. MEP project members performed work in all three buildings simultaneously as well, providing the appropriate systems per each tenant’s requirements. “Modifying the building systems that were initially set up for the entire building into electrical, water, fire protection and security systems that meet specific needs of individual tenants adds to a project’s complexity,” he said.

Although this is Poettker Construction’s first project with NorthPoint Development in the St. Louis region, Poettker completed two warehouses projects and is constructing a third logistics complex for NorthPoint in Gastonia, North Carolina.

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