Kohler Vikrell Manufacturing Facility
Kohler Vikrell Manufacturing Facility / Casa GrandeAZ
What does it take to deliver a 1M-square-foot manufacturing facility on undeveloped, desert land?

The Kohler Vikrell Manufacturing Facility in Casa Grande, Ariz., is among the company’s largest capital investments in its history. The one-million-square-foot manufacturing facility was designed and built to produce the company’s high-growth STERLING Vikrell bath and shower fixtures lines – products popular among large single-family homebuilders, multifamily developers, and retail big box stores. The facility also serves as a distribution center for these products, allowing Kohler to serve its growing customer base in the western U.S. with reduced lead times and delivery efficiency.

Delivering an advanced manufacturing facility of this size and complexity on undeveloped desert land required the right team with high levels of innovation, teamwork, and trust. In search of a partner to help vet, design, and build the industry-leading facility, Kohler chose construction company M.A. Mortenson and Ware Malcomb Architects. 

Considering the complexity of Kohler’s manufacturing processes, designing these new, efficient process systems took longer than the design of the building itself. Kohler collaborated with Mortenson, Ware Malcomb, and process engineer Barry-Wehmiller Design Group to design the facility’s process components. To fully understand how the facility’s design could facilitate optimal and streamlined production, Mortenson team members studied the company’s current Huntsville, Ala., manufacturing facility. This led to several components incorporated into the design and final construction which dramatically improved output:


  • Optimized dust collection: Shower and bathtub production generates dust, which, if not well-controlled, can clog machinery, causing damage and down time and reducing production efficiency. It also poses a potential safety hazard, reducing air quality for workers. To mitigate this, Mortenson worked with Kohler to design and build a state-of-the-art dust control system throughout the facility. Because Mortenson worked so closely with process engineer Barry-Wehmiller Design Group early in the design process, they were able to incorporate the dust collection system optimally throughout the production areas. This allows all dust to be continually collected so it doesn’t settle in or on machinery or on the floors.


  • Flash conveyor: After tubs and shower surrounds are produced, there is excess material, called flash, that needs to be trimmed from the product. The project team designed an underground conveyor belt that runs below all presses throughout the facility, collecting the flash and carrying it out of the production area. Critically, the conveyor was designed to run through a 12-foot high tunnel below the presses, enabling easy access for repairs and maintenance. In other factories, the conveyor is in a very narrow space, meaning that repairs or maintenance are difficult, and production needs to shut down if repairs were necessary. Creating easy access to the conveyor enables repairs to be completed without stopping production. 

To expedite a common understanding of the facility’s layout, Mortenson constructed a digital 3D model of the site using a helmet-mounted scanner. This design phase solution created a shared understanding of the design to develop consensus and design the best possible footprint to propel Kohler into the future. By working as one team to create just-in-time process designs in tandem with building design, the design-build team could ensure a truly integrated finished product designed to meet Kohler’s specific needs.

Kohler broke ground in early 2021 and the plant reached substantial completion in December 2023. The resulting industry-leading facility has allowed Kohler to expand its North America operations with the capability to expand further in the future. Currently, the facility brings 400 new full-time jobs to the area, expanding the local economy and increasing tax revenues.

Facts And Figures

1M square feet on 216 acres

Owner: Kohler Co.

Architect: Ware Malcomb

Completion: Q1 2024

Features: Manufacturing facility, ancillary warehouse, supporting office space

Delivery Methods


The Team