The massive roof atop Marshalls distribution center in Phoenix has 8,000 joists and girders supported by more than 1,000 columns. Layton Construction completed the project in just 10 months.



Read this article in the print edition of Foundation Magazine

When shoppers visit Marshalls or TJ Maxx, they appreciate the size and variety each store brings for hidden treasures to fill their closets. The amount of product required to keep shoppers happy and coming back requires a massive distribution facility and state-of-the-art technology. Enter the new Marshalls warehouse in Phoenix.

The gargantuan distribution center was built by Layton Construction and represents an amazing partnership between three Arizona A/E/C industry powerhouses — Layton, Ware Malcomb and Cresa.





“The architect was very responsive to RFIs. Anything related to drawings, we received answers right away.”

John Sirrine
Construction manager, Layton Construction

The trio has teamed up numerous times before — including the headquarters for Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (Fall 2012 issue of Foundation) — but none of the previous projects were as big as this one for Marshalls parent company, TJX Companies, Inc.


The site’s truck courts have 98 dock positions to receive product, and 54 out-bound dock positions with capacity to store 800 trailers and 1,200 employee automobiles. The size of the structure is hard to imagine. The project is located within the Prologis Park Riverside and occupies about 100 acres of the 150-acre development. The high-bay area of the facility has a 52-foot clear height and occupies 400,000 square feet. The high-bay area pushed the concrete tilt panels to a maximum height of 66 feet, with each panel weighing 85 tons.

TJX already had a distribution facility near Las Vegas for its many retail goods to make their way to stores around the West. However, the Las Vegas facility served both TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores and the company wanted increased capacity to efficiently deliver goods to customers around the region.

With increased capacity in mind, Massachusetts-based TJX built the 1.5-million-square-foot Marshalls-only facility in Phoenix and brought Ware Malcomb on board to design the facility.

“This is a showpiece for TJX. They are very happy. They expected an amazing facility and that is what they got.”

Jason Wery
Principal-project management, Cresa

Eventually, TJX selected Cresa as the project management firm and Layton Construction as the contractor. The three companies understand the Phoenix market and know how to work to get things done right.

“Everyone on the team was really responsive,” says Jason Wery, principal-project management for Cresa. “With a project this big and high-profile, there were a lot of changes and a lot of decisions that had to be made. It took a team effort to keep things moving while the owners were still making decisions.”

Plus, Ware Malcomb’s architects would work quickly to get updates made to the plans and new specifications to the Layton team as quickly as possible, while still taking care of TJX.

Besides managing the construction of the large building — which could fit 21 football fields under its roof — Layton also coordinated installation of equipment by third-party vendors.

“With a project this big, even small details had a great impact over the entire project,” says Brock Grayson, architect of record on the project. “There were a lot of decisions made by the team that affected the outcome of the project. It took a team effort to quickly find the best detail to be implemented over a project this size.”


Employees will direct operations of the massive distribution center from 30,000 square feet of office space.

Layton responded to each challenge with professionalism and a team-first approach.

“Layton was very fair throughout the process,” Jason says. “We would have weekly meetings to discuss the smallest details, but the team understood the impact these details would have over the project and the schedule.”

The teamwork between the three companies was critical.

“We’re all very client-driven,” says Andrew Geier, executive vice president for Layton Construction. “Every client gets our best and this project was no different. We all did our best to create the best possible outcome.”

One unique aspect of the project was an insurance-mandated fire wall (called an MFL wall) that separated two warehouse areas. The 552-foot-long dividing tilt-up concrete wall was a huge undertaking, but it went up without a hitch.

“We had a 100-acre site with things happening everywhere,” says John Sirrine, construction manager for Layton Construction. “We had to have maximum effort to have the quality the owner expected in every area of the project. It was a fun challenge.”

A challenge completed in 10 months.

Meeting the challenge resulted in a gorgeous facility that accommodates the company’s needs now and will continue to do so into the future.

The scope of the project and the final function of the building is striking to visitors inside and outside of the company.

“The super flat floors, the 52-foot clear height section, the MFL wall — all these items drove the complexity of this building from a simple box to a very technical building that required an enormous amount of coordination.”

Brock Grayson
Architect of record

“There were people from the company that weren’t involved in the day-to-day building that would come out every few months,” says Nicole Darling, project architect for Ware Malcomb. “It was fun to see them as they visited and grasped the monumental task that they were asking everyone to do.”

The distribution center has two warehouse areas — a high-bay area that has 52-foot tall storage racks and a low-bay area for inventory, processing and shipping.

The company has made video clips of the facility that have been circulated among employees of the company.

“Internally, they’re very proud of this building,” Jason says. “It reflects the company well and brings a great facility to the western United States that will help their business thrive.”

This pride came from a team approach.

“The overall success of the project came from the design team meeting the client’s needs and the construction team getting it done,” Jason says. “Layton staffed this thing perfectly — always having the right people and the right number of people — to get it done. A lot of changes were driven by TJX, but ultimately the client-first relationship drove everyone to work to get it done. TJX got a great building.”

Marshalls Distribution Center Quick Notes

• A 10-month schedule to build a 1.5 million square-foot distribution center? Almost unthinkable.

• The project involved pouring 75,000 cubic yards of concrete, completed by 7,500 concrete trucks.

• The warehouse includes 305 separate concrete tilt panels with the tallest being over 66 feet tall and weighing more than 170,000 pounds.

• The project used 3.5 million pounds (1,750 tons) of structural steel.

• Five different fabricators and 18 different suppliers were used to provide the needed steel.

Continuously poured, super-flat concrete floors (F-MIN 100) were placed in the 52-foot clear high-bay area, 20-feet wide and 400-feet long. No concrete joints will impact the high-reach lift vehicles guided on wires embedded in the concrete of the narrow aisle racking system.

• Crews installed seven semitruck loads (1.3 million square feet) of fiberglass insulation.

• The project included 284 miles of electrical wire. If rolled out flat, it would run from Phoenix to Las Vegas.

• Everything about this project was schedule driven, even to specifying the number of roof deck screws placed daily.

• The more than 260,000 linear feet of exterior slab caulking required 2,750 gallons of caulk. The interior has more than 150,000 linear feet of caulking, which required 1,600 gallons.

• This distribution center was built in 10 months!