With the economy on the rise and the demand for commercial warehouse space increasing, Jerry & Russ Wagner of BMI Educational Services, Inc. were looking to take advantage of the land available to them. Sitting on 12 acres in Cranbury, NJ and already being landlords themselves, Russ & Jerry saw an opportunity to expand their portfolio and provide a niche market for some much-needed commercial warehouse space in the 3,000-5,000 sq. ft. range. They turned to Carl Lunde, VP of Business Development at Fenton Construction, with whom they had formed a good working relationship with over the past several years. Working in collaboration with Afredo R. Trevino Architects in the design, planning, and budgeting phase of construction, a four-phase construction project for a 150,000 sq. ft. business park was planned. The building shell would consist of pre-cast concrete wall panels, conventional steel, and a TPO roof.
The Back Story
Now, it’s important to know the context of this project. Initial conversations started in 2008. However, when the economy turned south with the Great Recession, the project was put on hold. It wasn’t until several years later in 2013 when the owners contacted Carl Lunde to resume talks. This project was originally planned to be a pre-engineered Butler Building by Butler Manufacturing, the world’s largest and oldest pre-engineered steel building manufacturer. Butler Buildings are renowned for being the best in the pre-engineered metal building industry.
The End Use
For this particular building, the owners required flex warehouse space broken up into multiple units that could accommodate tenants looking to rent 3,000-5,000 sf units. Each of these units would be expected to have racking for storing products, concrete floors, fork lifts, and pallet jacks going to and from the unit to the loading dock area. On site, they could expect regular traffic throughout the day such as: tenants parked in their designated parking lots along with large tractor trailers frequenting in and out of the parking lot loading and unloading valued consumer goods.
Location. Location. Location.
Over the years, times changed. Cranbury, NJ is located in the heart of Central New Jersey with easy access to the NJ Turnpike and an hours drive in either direction to two major cities, Philadelphia & New York City. This location provides great real estate for E-Commerce businesses and big box stores in need of high-quality distribution centers and flex warehouse space. Sure enough, since 2008, the area surrounding the project site was developed tremendously. The project was surrounded by millions of square feet of precast/tilt-wall concrete single-story
Let’s talk about the pros & cons of each building method:
After evaluation, Dayton Business Park was redesigned to be a precast concrete building. When asked what factors contributed to this decision, Russel Wagner had this to say, “The durability was the most important. We wanted the increased durability to make the walls indestructible. We saw most of the other buildings around us going up using concrete, which is another reason why we chose precast.” To date, the project as been a tremendous success drawing high demand in the 3,000 sf – 5,000 sf market with 80% of the 150,000 sf rented to multiple tenants making up a variety of different businesses and industries.
When evaluating what method makes the most sense for your next building project, we encourage you to evaluate the pros and cons of both methods and speak to a reputable general contractor or construction manager for further consultation. The value that can be gleaned from reaching out to a commercial/industrial construction expert can prove invaluable, and can save you considerable time, energy, and money. We hope that this article was of value to you in your decision making process. For additional resources, visit our video library where we’ve compiled drone video of both types of buildings.
With a 54-year track record comprised of over 700 commercial and industrial construction projects and 100+ years of combined experience between our management personnel, you can trust Fenton with your next building project. We are a family-owned General Contractor & Construction Management Firm located in Warren, NJ; and while integrity, quality, reliability, and safety are the foundations of our business, we believe that building a strong team relationship with our clients is the key which ensures each project’s success.