“Anchor tenant” is clad in limestone veneer

Clad in thin limestone veneer, the new Home Depot location in Austin, TX, is an “anchor” retailer at The Shops at Arbor Walk. The stone was quarried and fabricated by RLF Salado Quarries, LLC, of Florence, TX.

The majority of the thin veneer cladding is Cream “Truestone” thin veneer, and it was used for columns and entire wall elevations. Meanwhile, the wall and column bases are clad in Gold “Truestone” thin veneer.

Growth in the Austin, TX, metropolitan area has given rise to a broad range of building projects, including residential as well as commercial construction. In the retail sector, one such project is The Shops at Arbor Walk, a 450,000-square-foot complex in the Arboretum area of Austin. One of the first “anchor tenants” for this development was a Home Depot store, and the building’s exterior design carries striking visual appeal through the use of thin limestone veneer.

The stone was quarried and fabricated by RLF Salado Quarries, LLC, of Florence, TX. The quarry site is approximately one hour north of Austin, giving the project a local flavor as well as an aesthetically pleasing appearance. To produce the thin stone veneer, stone pieces are processed on the TXS Thin Stone system from Park Industries. The unit features two blades, and it can process stone pieces up to 12 inches high, 18 to 24 inches long and up to 12 inches thick. Blocks are loaded onto the conveyor, and the two blades simultaneously cut off the ends. These end pieces are 1 ¼ inch thick, with one textured surface and one flat (sawn) surface. According to the company, the thin stone veneer products are competitive with cultured stone products in terms of price as well as ease of installation.

Although natural stone is not generally part of the Home Depot’s materials palette, the Arbor Walk location was able to utilize the material as thin veneer as an economically viable feature for the project.

The majority of the stone is Cream “Truestone” thin veneer, and it was used for columns and entire wall elevations. Meanwhile, the wall and column bases are clad in Gold “Truestone” thin veneer. In all, a total of 3,600 square feet of thin limestone veneer was used for the project.

The project was completed in October of 2006 - in time for the holiday shopping season - and the contractor for the project was J.R. Heineman & Sons, Inc., which is based in Midland, MI.

The Home Depot was part of the first “wave” of tenants at The Shops at Arbor Walk, and others included well-known retailers such as Marshalls, JoAnn Fabrics, DSW Shoe Warehouse and Golf Galaxy, according to The Simon Group, the developer of the project. Given the retail complex’s high-profile location in the Austin area, dressing up the Home Depot location with limestone was particularly beneficial. “The visibility of The Shops at Arbor Walk is tremendous,” said Tom Garvey, vice president of development in Simon’s community/lifestyle center division. “It has great frontage on Mopac, and because of its location, you can get to the Shops at Arbor Walk from anywhere in the Austin market within 15 minutes.”

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