General contractor D.F. Pray has completed construction of the new $34-million Brooks Pharmacy headquarters in East Greenwich, R.I.
The Seekonk, Mass., contractor announced completion of the 287,000-square-foot building shortly after Rite-Aid Corporation reported it had acquired 1,854 Brooks and Eckerd stores and six distribution centers from The Jean Coutu Group Inc.
Pray served as both construction manager and general contractor for the building, which features a brick façade and a huge glass-curtained entry way. Inside the entry is a two-story atrium. Designed to house 800 employees, the building includes a cafeteria and outdoor cafe.
In its role as construction manager, Pray negotiated with the landowners to enable construction to begin before the property was purchased and worked with all government entities, the water authority and the unions. When construction was delayed a year and a half after costs were negotiated, the contractor convinced national vendors to keep costs at the originally negotiated prices, and persuaded subcontractors to accelerate the work schedule without an increased charge.
The contractor also suggested the owner employ a number of sustainable, money-saving ideas, including using the latest T5 lighting, a brand-new more efficient bulb that is expected to save an estimated $80,000 on the electric bill. In addition, because the Kent County Water Authority didn't have enough capacity to serve the new building, and the new headquarters is completely dependent on well water, Pray created an irrigation system that draws on water stored in a retaining pond behind the building. According to Ken Spader, Brooks' vice president of Construction and Store Planning, without this solution, at least 30-percent of the building's newly planted landscape would have failed.
Another challenge the site posed, according to Vincent Villella, Brooks Pharmacy Division vice president, was creating an 18,000-square-foot basement and keeping it dry, which required much blasting and a uni-que multilayer drainage system. The contractor installed a curtain drain on the exterior, an under-slab drain and interior pumps. Villella said that before the system was installed, there was up to three feet of water in the proposed basement area.
The completed headquarters building is now part of the Rite-Aid Corporation's extensive properties. With the acquisition of the Brooks Eckerd chain, the Camp Hill, Penn.-based firm has more than 5,000 stores in 31 states, and is the nation's third largest drugstore chain.
The 338 Brooks stores acquired by Rite-Aid are all located in the six New England states, while the Eckerd stores are located throughout the mid-Atlantic and southeast. And one of the distribution centers is located in Dayville, Conn.
Over the next several years, Rite Aid plans to fully remodel almost all of the Brooks and Eckerd stores, bringing the total investment to upgrade the stores and distribution centers to more than $1 billion. The company said it will also continue its store development program with plans to open nearly 1,000 new and relocated stores over the next five years.
(Ed.: Special thanks to Carolyn Crook of Integrated Marketing Concepts for photo and information that were used to help prepare this article.)