Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. is building a massive new distribution center in southwest Oklahoma City that will contain more space than the Devon Tower.
The $88 million, 1.9 million-square-foot warehouse is under construction at 6900 SW 29, north of Hobby Lobby’s corporate campus near SW 44 and Council.
By comparison, the 50-story Devon Tower building in downtown Oklahoma City is about 1.8 million square feet. Quail Springs Mall is about 1.12 million square feet.
“It’s one of the largest warehouses they’ve built to date — just under 2 million square feet” said Alan Kirkpatrick, structural engineer and principal at KFC Engineering, which is handling engineering work for Hobby Lobby on the project.
“It’s a big endeavor both from the design and construction standpoint — warehouses like this just don’t get built every day,” Kirkpatrick said.
Concrete tilt wall construction is being used to build the massive warehouse, a process that involves pouring large concrete slabs in place and then raising them on site with a crane to form the walls of the building. Each slab weights several tons.
The slab walls for the building have already been poured and are in the process of being raised now. Construction is expected to take about 18 months, the company said.
The Hobby Lobby warehouse is one of the largest buildings to be constructed in the United States using tilt-wall construction, Kirkpatrick said.
In a statement, Hobby Lobby said it needs the new warehouse space to accommodate inventory and distribution growth over the next three to five years. Hobby Lobby is on track to open 70 new U.S. stores in 2014, and another 70 new stores in 2015.
“Our company continues to grow,” Hobby Lobby said in a statement. “We’re expanding geographically, opening new stores almost weekly, and enhancing our e-commerce operations. Our needs have outgrown our current space, and we’re anticipating additional growth in the years to come, so it makes sense that we expand our facilities to accommodate.”
Hobby Lobby would not disclose how many new employees it plans to hire in Oklahoma City as part of its rapid growth, but the crafts retailer already employs 4,317 people at its Oklahoma City corporate campus, plus another 831 people at its 21 stores across the state.
Hobby Lobby already has more than 6 million square feet of space at its manufacturing, distribution administrative headquarters in southwest Oklahoma City. The retailer will have about 9 million square feet of real estate once the new warehouse is completed.
The company has been acquiring land around its corporate campus for the past several years, said Randy Lacey, broker for CB Richard Ellis-Oklahoma, who tracks industrial sales.
“They have been aggressively purchasing land on an ongoing basis in areas where the it makes sense for them and that doesn’t appear to be slowing down,” Lacey said.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Hobby Lobby has about 4.1 million square feet of space at its manufacturing, distribution and administrative headquarters in southwest Oklahoma City, and that the new warehouse will give the retailer about 6 million square feet of real estate once completed.