National specialty outdoor retailer REI Co-op Celebrated its ribbon cutting ceremony today at its new distribution center in Lebanon, Tennessee supporting its steady growth in the Midwest and Southeast. The new distribution center will serve more than 60 stores and 5.6 million REI members in the area. The facility’s design and operations prioritize the employee experience while setting a new standard to fight the climate crisis. The project was completed by developer, design-builder, and architect, Al Neyer. The new facility is located at 1400 Murfreesboro Road.
Al. Neyer’s development team worked on the original site acquisition, rezoning, entitlements, and approvals. Al. Neyer’s designers worked on the overall site design, architectural and interior designs as well as all the sustainability features. Al. Neyer also oversaw the project’s construction and execution.
In 2019, we began our relationship with REI as they sought the expertise of our Nashville team to design and develop a new regional distribution center here in Middle Tennessee. Understandably, REI paused its expansion efforts due to the pandemic-induced economic shutdowns but re-engaged Al. Neyer again in 2021 to move forward with the development. At that time, our team began work with REI on this pioneering distribution center that would serve as a centerpiece for the companies’ operations in the southeastern United States.Patrick Poole VP, Nashville Market Leader – Al. Neyer
The distribution center addresses carbon impacts by using 100% renewable, 100% electric energy through an onsite solar array and renewable energy from a soon-to-be-built solar array in eastern Tennessee as part of REI’s partnership with Clearloop, a leading carbon solutions provider. Electric forklifts transport goods in the 400,000 square-foot facility while electric chargers are available for staff vehicles. Concrete and steel building materials have upwards of 30% less embodied carbon than typical material specifications.
“We believe the climate crisis is the greatest threat to our business and the future of our planet. REI is leveraging its values and cooperative model to minimize our environmental footprint while serving the outdoor community,” says Sylvia Wilks, REI chief supply chain officer. “Our new Lebanon distribution center allows us to improve our delivery speed to customers and stores, increase our throughput capacity and agility, and lower costs all while achieving new sustainable building standards.”
REI’s Lebanon distribution center employs more than 230 part- and full-time staff. As the co-op’s business grows, staff may increase to 350 employees. The facility provides a productive and healthy environment for employees through design features that support work, rest, and a connection to nature. Highlights include ample daylight through 90 skylights over regularly occupied spaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, exceptional air quality, ergonomic workspaces, and a gym.
The design focuses on enhancing the employee connection to nature with “trails” worn into the concrete floors for wayfinding, wood siding from a decommissioned barn installed in the atrium and furniture, and handrails repurposed from trees removed from the property prior to construction. The co-op is completing a habitat restoration project across the 41-acre property, which will feature a trail for walking and biking. The facility is also highly water efficient, designed to use 50% less water in its operations and landscaping than required by industry baseline.
The Lebanon facility complements REI’s three existing distribution centers in Bedford, Pennsylvania; Goodyear, Arizona; and Sumner, Washington to serve 185 stores in 42 states as well as online order fulfillment for customers across the country and globe. Notably, REI’s Bedford and Goodyear locations are also recognized by the USGBC’s green building certification.
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