An Amazon fulfillment center is being constructed at the site of the Greendale Mall off Neponset Street in Worcester, Massachusetts. The developer, Hobbs Brook Management, worked with local constituency to overcome objections regarding traffic, noise, labor conditions, emissions, stormwater runoff and its impact on small businesses.
The Greendale Mall redevelopment project was a means to repurpose the mostly vacant retail space.
The new warehouse contains 121,212 SF of space and is one-story (44 feet) in height. The site is bound on the east by a railroad, on the south and west by Interstate 190, and on the northern boundary by West Boylston Street.
Precast concrete panels make up the shell of the new facility. The components are grey with reveals and ready to receive Amazon’s signature tan and blue colors painted in the field. The insulated panels are 12-inches thick and extend more than 40 feet in height. The continuous insulation exceeds the R-10 minimum for new commercial construction while the precast interior face provides hardened surface. The precast walls are load-bearing and include openings for dock doors and future punch-out’s.
Strescon Limited provided 159 precast concrete panels and Ocean Steel provided 326 tons of structural steel. The sister companies jointly provided the bulk of the project. Strescon manufactured and delivered the precast wall panels in February 2022 enabling Amazon operations to get under way in the Fall of 2022.
Amazon, the world’s largest retailer conducts a large portion of their services in the last mile, like this new facility where packages are sorted and dispatched directly to the customer. The delivery stations are part of Amazon’s “Last Mile” program, which is the focus of the plans for the Greendale Mall location. The mall suffered due to e-commerce and the pandemic but has been revived and turned into distribution center.
These “last-mile” e-commerce delivery centers have different traffic patterns than other warehouses. The residents of Worcester had concerns regarding the influx of trucks and associated air quality impacts when the project was first proposed to replace the Greendale Mall. The Amazon fulfillment center at the disused mall is significantly smaller than the former shopping center and is proximate to an extensive roadway and highway network.
Precast concrete walls were able to meet the rigorous demands of this busy facility as the last leg of the delivery network as well as rejuvenating the Greendale Mall. The rapid fabrication and installation of the precast solution is reminiscent of the speed with which Amazon delivers their packages to their own customers.