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Highland Commerce Center of Fort Myers

Summarize the project's program, features and achievements?

The Highland Commerce Center of Fort Myers, Florida, offers 481,933 square feet of warehouse space. This significant structure is southwest Florida's largest cross-dock warehouse, strategically responding to the escalating demands of the online shopping era. As the world's need for expanded warehouse capacity remains constant, this facility is addressing the need with a more modern functional space.

A highlight of the building's architecture is tied to its operational design, incorporating best-in-class specifications, such as 36-foot clear heights, 96 dock doors, four drive-in doors, 181 parking spaces, 138 trailer spaces, and a building depth of 500 feet. The use of tilt-up panels was integral in achieving the impressive size and noted features of the building. The wall panels were configured with a maximum panel height of 45'-9" to achieve the clear height noted. The numerous openings were incorporated into the panel design, while still contributing to the desired exterior façade.

Built in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which devasted the region, and the logistical issues that ensued, the construction of a building of this magnitude is a noteworthy achievement. Furthermore, being a warehouse and distribution center, the building will have a long-lasting impact on efforts to rebuild this region in the years and decades to come.

What obstacles were overcome related to the schedule, budget, program, specification, site, etc. on this project?

This building was constructed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. This added logistical and supply chain issues to an already volatile construction environment, specifically in this region of the country. Realizing these issues, the design team worked closely with the construction team to value engineer the building based on logistical and supply chain-related constraints. The project team was able to identify several factors that contributed to rising costs of the project and fine-tuned the design accordingly.

The ultimate design specifically took the form of tilt-up wall panels. The overall volume of concrete was identified as a major factor affecting the budget and schedule. Therefore, the design team specified a higher strength concrete (compared to typical values) which, when coupled with heavier rebar, allowed a thinner panel to be utilized all while meeting and exceeding requirements of the governing building codes. Taking this approach saved the owner hundreds of thousands of dollars (compared to a thicker wall panel), ultimately contributing to a successful project.

Please communicate any engineering complexities or unique features of the panel design for this project?

This project is located in southwest Florida, which has the highest required wind loads of anywhere in the contiguous United States. The high wind loads were coupled with tall panel elevations and large openings that the client desired to provide best-in-class operational capacity. These complexities provided significant engineering challenges that were successfully overcome as these tall wall panels are inherently very sensitive to large lateral loads. In addition, the value engineering aspect added another layer of complexity as the panels needed to be made as thin as possible to work within budgetary constraints.

The tilt-up panel designer worked closely with the Engineer of Record to provide the most efficient overall building design. This resulted in the exterior wall tilt-up panels serving as both the vertical and lateral load-resisting systems. This design solution also eliminated a column/beam line adjacent to the exterior wall, reducing overall steel costs and potential column conflicts with the dock doors. The design team worked to provide tilt-up wall panel designs that satisfied all of the project requirements while meeting strength, serviceability, and ductility requirements per the governing building code.

What is the potential for this project's impact on the community and/or environment?

This building is southwest Florida's largest cross dock warehouse and distribution center. Additionally, several of the nation's fastest-growing metropolitan areas are located in Florida. Its strategic location and operational capability will allow it to contribute to the escalating demands of the online shopping era, population growth, and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Main banner image for Highland Commerce Center of Fort Myers

Project Location

Fort Myers, FL 33906
United States

Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Fullmer Concrete Construction
Moris Moreno, Moris Moreno Photography
Greg Kirstein, raSmith

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Building Types:
Paint (Flat)
Cantilevered Panels
Embedded Items
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
133 panels
Total Floor Area:
481,933 sq ft (44,772 sq m)
Project Footprint:
481,933 sq ft (44,772 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
45 ft 9 in (13.94 m)
Widest Panel:
36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
Largest Panel:
1,590 sq ft (147.7 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
183,800 lbs (83,370 kg)