As a councilmember I am often asked to participate in stakeholder events…from ribbon cuttings to all kinds of special events. On December 20, 2016, I was privileged to observe a really special event. The Connair Corporation has a major distribution center in the Glendale Airport Commercial Park. It had its original grand opening many years ago…approximately 20 years ago…and I was privileged to be part of that event years ago. The company currently employs 450 but with this expansion, it will hire another 300 employees.
Connair distributes several of its own brand of products from its Glendale distribution facility…not just hair dryers and hair brushes but also Cuisinart and Scünci products. By the way, the distribution facility also has an outlet/company store. If you have never shopped there it is certainly worth a visit.
On 8 AM of December 20, 2016 the Mayor and several councilmembers gathered with top executives of D.L. Withers (the construction company building the new facility) as well as Connair’s leadership to witness an extraordinary construction event. Over the years Connair has expanded but its current expansion is one for the books.
Connair is constructing a new 1 million square foot building longer than 7 football fields. Only Intel’s building in Chandler is larger. They decided to use a type of construction called “Tilt Panel Construction.”
The 178 panels needed make up the exterior walls of the building. Each panel weighs 220,000 pounds. A ton is 2,000
pounds so each panel weighs a massive 110 tons. Now that is really, really big and heavy. After concrete was poured and cured for the floor of the building, the panel frames were built directly onto this floor. An agent to prevent the concrete panel from bonding to the concrete floor is applied. Then concrete is poured into a specially constructed frame for the panel and it is then allowed to cure for 20 days. Any necessary hardware is built into the panel frame before the concrete is poured.
That’s when the need for one of the largest cranes in the country comes into play…to lift these enormous panels, one at a time and very, very slowly. Inch by inch the massive crane raises each panel already fitted with steel braces to keep each panel upright and erect. A crew of about half a dozen construction workers literally perform a choreographed dance, each has his own position and job to make sure each panel is securely in place. Approximately 20 panels can be lifted a day and it is anticipated that all 178 panels will be in place by January of 2017.
It was really amazing to watch these panels being lifted. It reminded me that Glendale is a leading employer in the West Valley and our residents will
benefit from the taxes derived from such a project. It signals that Glendale is back in business not just in its commercial airpark or at Westgate but at its latest frontier, the Loop 303, an area poised to accept similar distribution centers. It also demonstrates that Glendale is ready to build partnerships with new and old partners.
© Joyce Clark, 2016
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