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Construction on the Academy Sports and Outdoors store in Columbus is picking up steam, with the retail project having reached a couple of major milestones, including the launch of the hiring process.
Crews on Thursday were busy working on the outer shell of the 64,266-square-foot structure at 6700 Whittlesey Blvd., which is in the Columbus Park Crossing development, adjacent to North Highland Church. Construction is costing $7,525,548, according to city building permits.
Expectations are for Alpharetta, Ga.-based general contractor T.D. Farrell Construction to be completed with the store within three to four months, which would likely be sometime in June. The exterior concrete walls were standing tall Thursday, with preparations for installation of the roof being made. T.D. Farrell handles retail projects for clients such as Academy Sports, Belk, Best Buy, Burlington, Costco, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Publix, according to its website.
When the building is ready, the contractor will turn it over to Hammerford Development Company, the Houston, Texas-based commercial real estate company that is developing the 16-acre property, with plans to long-term lease it to Katy, Texas-based Academy Sports and Outdoors.
However, despite the work remaining in progress and the parking lot yet to be paved, Academy Sports already is accepting applications for positions at the Columbus store, which will employ about 100 people.
Full- and part-time job listings include sales team members in the areas of apparel, footwear, team sports, and fishing and hunting. There are positions in the areas of receiving, asset protection, hardlines, softlines, inventory control, logistics, merchandising and operations. The retailer also will need cashiers and custodians.
One interesting job that could draw some competition is “outdoor enthusiast,” with the job description calling for four-plus years of “personal experience with outdoors hobbies, interests and skill sets.” Fishing experience is preferred and at least a year of sales experience in the outdoors field is required.
The Academy Sports job-search page implies that a simple foot in the retailer’s door might lead to bigger things. A career path chart shows an hourly team member advancing to “team lead” and then to “senior team lead” before becoming a manager, followed by store director, district manager and regional vice president.
As for the overall development along Whittlesey Boulevard, material submitted to the city’s Planning Department shows the Academy Sports and Outdoors store will sit on nearly 11 of the 16 acres and have about 300 parking spaces. Two outparcels are planned on other portions of the property, which will go to other tenants seeking the benefits of doing business near a well-known name such as Academy Sports. A traffic light is to be installed at the Academy Sports entrance before its opening.
Academy Sports and Outdoors is a recreation and outdoors goods retailer that sells merchandise at what it calls “every day low prices.” Goods available for purchase include leisure items such as barbecue grills, athletic apparel and footwear, hunting, fishing and camping gear. Brands it carries include Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, YETI and Columbia.
Founded in 1938, the company has been on a store-opening spree since its 2011 acquisition by private investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. At that time, it operated just over 130 locations. Today, it has more than 240 stores across the South and portions of the Midwest. The retailer’s nearest location to Columbus is about 40 minutes away in Auburn, Ala., not far from the Tiger Town development in Opelika.