Villa Lighting, a commercial lighting distributor based in St. Louis, plans to start construction in March on a new office and warehouse of more than 200,000 square feet on a vacant lot in St. Louis, and hopes to have it done by the end of the year. The project has an estimated completion value of approximately $13 million.

The move was made necessary by the rapid growth of its commercial lighting business. Founded in 1971 by Jack Villa, the company now has sales offices in Boston and northern California in addition to its St. Louis headquarters.

“Since we sold the retail operation in 2002, our commercial business has grown by more than 250 percent, with continued growth in the forecast,” says Villa. “We're fortunate to have great employees who really care about our customers. We need the new building because we're running short on space.”

Since deciding to focus on its commercial operation in 2002, the company has grown headcount from 55 to 80 employees. Villa said he expects to hire another 20 employees within the next three years.

The “high cube” warehouse will have 32-foot clear height ceilings, 24 dock doors, two drive-in doors and an ESFR sprinkler system. To optimize operational efficiency, the warehouse will be outfitted with a customized racking system and bar code inventory control network.

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