Park 249 & HOU7 | Houston, Texas

Alston Construction is committed to improving the construction experience for our clients, based on what we’ve learned as well was what we continue to learn. When we’re involved early and throughout construction, we make sure what we deliver aligns with what our owners expect. Park 249 and HOU7 are a perfect example of this.

Our team broke ground on Park 249 in July 2019. We started the contract as a 816, 920 SF speculative business park, but shortly after we began pouring the 4-building park’s slabs, Amazon purchased one of the four buildings to be built out for their HOU7 project. HOU7 is an XLFC facility, which is designed to manage the logistics of larger products (i.e. mattress, bicycles, generators, big box fans, etc). With quick change management, communication, and collaboration, our team successfully completed both projects on time and within budget.

While planning for the project, our team discovered that the Park 249 project site had an active natural gas pipeline running down the middle. The natural gas line ran to a bunker that controlled all of the gas lines for Southeast Texas, so it required a lot of planning and preemptive meetings with the local energy company to successfully not strike those lines. Not only was this site a risk from underground, but the site was also a risk above ground. Park 249 Business Park was part of a flight path for air medical transport, and the refueling station was adjacent to the site. Our team held meetings with the flight director to understand their flight path patterns along with presenting our plans to their teams, so we could ensure there would be no collisions.

Another challenge was the design of HOU7 verses the original design. The new design required changes to the foundation, tilt wall, new guard houses and dock levelers. Knowing this obstacle, our goal was to drive more certainty in the construction process for both the developer and Amazon to create a more coordinated and efficient client experience. The Alston team built a change management plan for all changes to the entire project including the buildout. This even included running pricing exercises based off conversations in passing. Creating this open book process allowed the team to finish both contracts in their expected budgets.

There is always a heightened emphasis during Amazon’s equipment installation and startup group due to the quick transition out of the construction phase. Thanks to the Amazon internal kickoff meeting, Alston, Amazon’s construction management team, the Material Handling Equipment team, and Racking team created a mutually beneficial game plan. All parties could work simultaneously during the phased turn-over sequence and meet all milestone dates. When the two Amazon contracted teams started working in HOU7, the Alston team was still managing their subcontractor teams to complete the other phases of the build-out; therefore, we held regular meetings, so everyone knew the plan and understood what needs to be accomplished to stay on track.

Alston Construction believes there is always an opportunity to do things better, and Park 249 Business Park and HOU7 were no exception. Because of the team’s proactive approach to planning at every stage of this project, including a new contract with a different client, both projects were completed on time and in budget.

“HOU7 launched successfully yesterday and I wanted to take the time to reach out to you to commend the team for an outstanding job they did. The project was executed flawlessly...and it would not have been if it weren’t for their hard work... they were always on top of everything, quick and methodical in their execution, and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

-Andrew Wells, P.E., Construction Manager (HOU7)