Oasis Consulting Services has been named the American Council of Engineering Companies – Georgia Chapter 2020 Engineering Excellence Merit Award recipient for Gillem Logistics Center, Building 150.
Fort Gillem is a former United States Army Post located in Forest Park, Georgia due south of Atlanta. Built in 1940 to support World War II efforts, it operated as the Atlanta Army Depot. In 1974, Fort Gillem began operating as a complementary base to Fort McPherson located only 12-miles away. The base continued under Army control until 2005 when Fort Gillem was recommended as a property to undergo Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) — beginning the process of closing the base permanently and transitioning the property to local control. In 2011, Fort Gillem was officially decommissioned and Army troops were moved to other bases. Within a year, the surrounding City of Forest Park purchased a majority of former Fort Gillem for $30 million and transferred ownership to Forest Park/Fort Gillem Implementation Local Redevelopment Authority who would oversee redevelopment of the property. Thus, the creation of Gillem Logistics Center was initiated: an industrial facility which would accommodate more than 8 million square-feet of industrial space and half a million square-feet of mixed-use buildings on the property. Located near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport between interstates 285, 675 and 75, Gillem Logistics Center provides an ideal area for much-needed development in an area that is economically up-and-coming.
Since 2012, Oasis Consulting Services has been active in performing necessary environmental remediation to support the transfer of the property from the United States Army to the local community and major businesses – working in coordination with Robinson Weeks Partners, Eberly & Associates, Valentino & Associates Land Surveyors, the City of Forest Park, the Urban Redevelopment Agency of the City of Forest Park, and the United States Army Base Realignment and Closure Office. Oasis Consulting Services provided environmental engineering and assessments, geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, hazardous materials sampling, brownfield and remediation support, technical review, and the Prospective Purchaser Corrective Action Plan (PPCAP) for development at Gillem Logistics Center, including Building 150.
Each building within former Fort Gillem – now known as Gillem Logistics Center – has its own complex set of nuanced issues to address based on their past use by the military. A prime example of these potential issues was illustrated during the development of the 80-acre parcel for the development of Building 150, where a former water treatment plant was once located. Upon initial assessment of the property, Oasis discovered that soils were visibly impacted and site data indicated that a release exceeding Georgia Environmental Protection Division non-residential cleanup criteria was present in the area. The soil samples collected from the site were discovered by a Georgia-certified laboratory where VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, and metals were detected, although all concentrations were below the Georgia Environmental Protection Division Hazardous Site Response Act (HSRA) non-residential Risk Reduction Standards (RRS). In order to meet a time-sensitive deadline to begin site development, Oasis oversaw the removal of a total of 1,150 tons of soil and its disposal within a week. Additionally, Oasis worked with the United States Army to begin work on necessary implements such as a parking area and stormwater facility before the property transfer was complete to allow the team to meet project deliverables quickly and within schedule.
Once construction began on Building 150, a very rainy winter led to difficult soil conditions and stormwater management which could have potentially caused significant delays and therefore stall or end the deal with the client. In order to meet the project’s complex 18-month timeline, Oasis Consulting Services designed soil stabilization and solidification techniques to allow the soft saturated soils to be built on through the rough winter weather months to meet the closing date. Oasis then self-performed a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) soil removal in coordination with Georgia Environmental Protection Division approvals quickly to allow construction to proceed. Additionally, Oasis negotiated a complex agreement with the Army to perform additional drilling to expedite the transfer of the property. The BRAC Chief then worked with the team to have the United States Army Corps of Engineers perform additional drilling to aid in an efficient transfer in order to meet construction deadlines. This agreement was critical, as the stormwater and parking for the 45-acre parcel was a requirement to support the building and its sale. The Army also worked with Oasis and the redevelopment authority to fast-track a license agreement, allowing developer Robinson Weeks to meet the parcel delivery date for sale and achieve the final deed transfer to the redevelopment authority prior to the buyer’s closing date. The final closing was contingent on this transfer being completed.
Overall, the project was complex in regards to a number of regulatory and environmental matters, including navigating discussions with the U.S. Army to provide much-needed testing to allow transfer of the property in time for final closing. Also, weather created additional complex issues as it was one of the most difficult winter construction periods in Atlanta. Because of significantly wet soils that could have ended the closing agreement, Oasis needed to work efficiently, flexibly, and creatively to address concerns before they became delays. Ultimately, the initial construction of the 1,017,627-square-foot, cross-dock warehouse facility was completed on-time by the end of 2017.
In 2018, Robinson Weeks worked with the City of Forest Park and Urban Redevelopment Agency to find the ideal occupant for the space that would support the local economy through the addition of jobs and long-term local investment in the same way that other Gillem Logistics Center occupants have, including Kroger’s distribution facility, logistics firm Kuehne + Nagel, and engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. By the end of 2018, HD Supply secured Building 150 to use as their state-of-the-art distribution facility. In turn, the redevelopment authority was able to sell the parcel and generate enough proceeds from the sale to make payments to the Army that had been contractually agreed upon in 2014 while receiving enough additional funding for other improvements at the Logistics Center through this deal. The agreement was lauded as a finalist in the Industrial Deal of the Year Best in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best in Atlanta Real Estate Awards. Additionally, it was named the Industrial Deal of the Year for 2018 by NAIOP Georgia.