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RIVERSIDE, CA-Oltmans Construction Co. of Whittier has completed the 308,000-sf DHL West Coast air and ground shipping facility that is part of the March Global Port redevelopment under way at the March Air Reserve Base. Oltmans describes the project as one of the most unusual commercial construction assignments it has ever completed because it involved erecting a building around a sophisticated materials handling system that constitutes more than 80% of the 308,000-sf facility.The entire building was designed around the materials handling conveyor system, along with the structure built to support it, according to Darin Lee of Oltmans, who was project manager for the build-to-suit facility. The project occupies a 30-acre site at the 375-acre March Global Port.The DHL facility was designed to provide immediate air strip access, enabling planes to pull right up to the structure. The sorting facility will support 11 flights a day, transporting up to 500,000 packages daily.Designed by RGA of Irvine, the new DHL hub is a two-story concrete tilt-up building that includes a $35 million conveyor system. Lee notes that the building design allows for DHL to expand by approximately 75,000 sf.When DHL announced its new facility in 2004, the company described it as a $65 million project that was part of a $1.2 billion North American network expansion program that DHL launched in June 2004. DHL’s choice of the March Global Port location was a coup for the air base, which at the time was competing against two other area airports that were wooing DHL, Ontario International Airport and the former Norton Air Force Base, now known as San Bernardino International Airport.The new DHL hub at March Air Reserve Base will expand the company’s capabilities in California and into Nevada, including Las Vegas, as well as Arizona, including Phoenix. The hub provides a bridge between the company’s operations in the East and the West.

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