Project Tags

    Close Button
    • A Architecture
    • Assisted Living Facility
    • Award
    • C Civic
    • Commercial
    • E Education
    • G Government
    • H Healthcare
    • Historic Preservation
    • I Independent Living Facility
    • Interior Design
    • L LEED
    • M Military
    • Multi-Family
    • R Recreation
    • Renovation
    • Residential
    • Restaurant
    • Retirement Community
    • S Sustainability
    • U Urban Design
    • W Worship Space
    • Y Youth Center
    • I Internships
    • T Team
    • N Newsletter
    • C Conceptual Design
    • O Office
    • B Behavioral Healthcare
    • C Community Service Boards



    In the Spotlight

    Unusual Design Sets E-Commerce Center of Hampton Apart

    Tara Bozick, Daily Press Newspaper

    Folks driving by the 90,000-square-foot, three-story E-Commerce Center of Hampton at Todds Lane and Aberdeen Road may wonder, what is that?

    Piquing curiosity around a noticeably different-looking building for the Peninsula was one of the design goals, the architects say. But Newport News-based PMA Architecture and the larger design team also had a unique challenge: how to make a building with 70,000 square feet of storage not look like a storage building.

    “It had to be more. It really had to transcend the standard office-storage building,” said Architect and Principal Jeff Stodghill of PMA Architecture in Hilton Village. Developer Bobby Freeman, who headed the project, envisioned a facility that combined storage and about 15,000 square feet of flexible co-working and office space around shipping with a UPS Store and internet selling through a business called We Sell Your Stuff coming in 2018.

    “It’s like a Swiss Army knife building — everything can be accomplished here,” said Architect and Principal Sam Bowling of PMA. “It ties into this gig economy.”

    The e-commerce center needed to reflect how people worked and conducted business in the 21st century, drawing inspiration from New York City buildings, the design team said. Freeman, who has homes in Newport News and New York, said he was fascinated not only by various mixed-use concepts but also by a municipal parking garage that was designed to be attractive to hide the fact it housed garbage trucks.

    “I was fascinated by the idea that you could hide, assimilate a mundane use and wrap it in a 21st-century shell,” Freeman said.

    So why the Tetris-style block pattern on the facade? The design team needed a way to break down the scale of the monolithic, boxed L-shaped building in a way that played with movement and light for an outside rhythm, said project manager J. Scruggs IV of PMA.

    The effect is a pixelated landscape, Architect and Principal Katie Stodghill of PMA said. And it evokes a feeling of data or technology while also staying true to its concrete structure, Scruggs added.

    That’s a key element of a contemporary aesthetic — staying true to the materials, Jeff Stodghill said. The urban-industrial interior of the Work/Place office space doesn’t hide the concrete, but the floors are polished and space uses modern lounge-style furnishings. The floor-to-ceiling windows in Work/Place also wash the offices in light, Bowling said.

    And while the center was a $15 million project, it still needed to be financially competitive with other storage facilities.

    General contractor W.M. Jordan Co. in Newport News found a way to complete the facility’s foundation and structure in three and a half months, said W.M. Jordan Vice President Michael Daniels.

    W.M. Jordan tapped subcontractor Citadel Contractors of Apex, N.C., to construct the building in a “tilt-up” method to accomplish the vision of the design team in a financially feasible way, Daniels said.

    Crews poured the concrete for the roughly 11-inch thick wall panels on the ground at the site — sandwiching in insulation — and tilted the walls up with a crane as the steel structure was installed, Daniels explained. The same construction method was used for the Cinemark City Center 12 movie theater in Newport News’ City Center.

    “It’s really fast,” Daniels said.

    The e-commerce center’s wall panels averaged 40 feet tall and weighed on average 100,000 pounds, Daniels said. The project has 43,000 square feet of the total concrete wall panel, he said. Daniels said the neatest part of the project was the strategizing and collaboration between the owner, the architects and the builder.

    PMA Architecture and W.M. Jordan have worked with Freeman in the past, most notably with Newport News’ Port Warwick.

    “I think the architectural look and feel accomplished exactly what I wanted,” Freeman said. “I think the building does speak to the future. You look at it and wonder what’s going on in there.”

    The Timmons Group, a civil engineering and landscape architecture firm, also provided services for the project.

    “The e-commerce center represents what we are going to see more of in the future as retail continues to change drastically,” said Mark Richardson, principal of Timmons Group’s Hampton Roads office. “Big box stores have been struggling amid online competition and we are seeing a trend in retailers wanting smaller offices with larger storage spaces. The trend comes from consumers wanting ultra-convenience and instant gratification, and this type of facility allows for that.”

    For more information about the E-Commerce Center of Hampton at 1708 Todds Lane, call 757-224-7024 or visit