A look at the 2022 CEBA Built by the Best Award contenders.

A M King was chosen by Mission Produce Inc. to design and build its first-ever hybrid facility in Laredo, Texas, to process a record number of avocados and incorporate additional product lines with different temperature requirements. This unique hybrid ripening, processing, packaging and distribution facility will serve as the company’s flagship building for its North American operations importing avocados from Mexico. The facility also needed to effortlessly switch from processing avocados to a variety of other fruits, and have the ability to expand in the future. The completed 274,000-square-foot facility sits on 33 acres and while it is one of the most innovative of its type in North America, there were plenty of challenges the A M King teams faced along the way. For one, the original site chosen was declared unusable, so a new one had to be found and vetted quickly in order to remain on schedule. Add to that pandemic-related shutdowns, the need for COVID-19 safety protocols, time differences between the East and West Coasts, permitting impacts, travel restrictions, language barriers, and limited skilled labor in the Laredo market, and A M King had its work cut out. Still, thanks to a focused management process, the design and construction teams overcame each of these challenges with aplomb. They delivered North America’s largest avocado-focused facility in accordance with the original project budget and 45 days ahead of schedule.

Confederation Freezers saw demand for its business increase substantially. As a result, it needed additional space within its existing site to accommodate growing customer needs. The company hired Coldbox to expand and alter the facility by 109,000 square feet to make it more practical. One challenge was Confederation Freezers needed to maintain full operation and service during construction. As a solution, Coldbox took a progressive design-build approach to ensure that construction could happen while Confederation Freezers’ workers were not interrupted. This involved demolishing the old facility around the engine room and maintaining that space until the new engine room would become operational. Thanks to the innovative design, Confederation Freezers now has a semi-automated high-density racking system with pallet runner making it the most profit-efficient addition possible. With the finished facility, Coldbox was able to increase Confederation Freezers’ storage capacity by 50%, which helped the company meet demand.

Ben E. Keith Foods was seeking to expand with a new food distribution facility that could house future expansion capacity totaling 1 million square feet. ESI Group was hired for the job. Situated on 116 acres, the location was ideal as it was close to Highway 84. It had been outfitted with a new water supply tank provided by Coffee County for fire protection and domestic water was supplied by the City of Enterprise. However, when constructing temperaturecontrolled environments, mother nature often plays a big role, and the job had some complexities that ESI Group needed to deal with. For instance, nature tries to equalize differences between high and low vapor pressures in freezers, so when building a cold storage room, the company needed to condense a large amount of vapor from the air with evaporators and dispense it down the hub drains. The project experienced 118 weather-related delays, faced the challenge of limited local workforce availability and needed to be completed during the pandemic. Still, ESI Group was able to wrap up the project on-schedule. For the new facility, the cold side of the distribution warehouse is comprised of 28 refrigerated dock doors and approximately 61,000 square feet of humidity-controlled cold dock space for the efficient shipping and receiving of food products. Refrigerated areas range from +55 degrees in the dry produce rooms down to -20 degrees in the freezer.

Arctic Cold was looking for a design-build team that could create a facility that would meet the needs of fruit processors. It would also need to provide storage Artic Cold’s tenant, citrus grower Ventura Pacific. Fisher Construction Group was brought in for the job. The $90 million project required a 575,000-square-foot building on a 32-acre site. The facility would need the capability to process up to 50,000 crates of lemons, package fruit, and then store various products in either the variable temperature coolers or freezer for distribution. Ventura Pacific was operating an outdated processing facility and storing product in several locations so it required a more efficient processing space and onsite cold storage that could house 100% of its product. This would allow the company to eliminate truck trips and complex inventory management, and deliver more local citrus to market. The schedule was challenging because the tenant needed space to start installing equipment by July 2021. By utilizing a transparent collaborative approach, the project was finished on time and under budget. The completed Arctic Cold facility is a steelframe construction with IMP walls offering energy efficiencies as well as benefits for food safety. The new freezer storage allows multiple local produce growers and processors to store their product in one central location as opposed to multiple smaller freezers in separate locations. This allows them to have better inventory control of their product and react to customer needs more efficiently. It also significantly reduces trucking needs.

Griffco Design/Build was hired to complete Phase 1 of Americold Logistics’ Gateway project. It involved the demolition of a 440,000-squarefoot existing cold storage building and the construction of a new, 200,000-square foot automated building. The parameters for the new facility included a 150-foot, -10-degree ASRS, -10 degree lowbay freezer; 35-degree truck and rail dock; and a two-story office building. The ASRS included 41,000 pallet positions, while the low-bay freezer included 6,000. The Griffco team found that the soil conditions of the site were not capable of supporting the weight of the 150-foot freezer and was forced to make significant ground improvements, including a combination of geo piers and rigid inclusions. From there, an ASRS mat slab was installed that included a 12-inch stone load transfer platform, six-inch concrete mudslab, and six inches of 100 psi extruded floor insulation. Because the majority of the work was executed during the pandemic, the Griffco team collaborated with Americold to implement strong COVID-19 safety protocols on site. The pandemic also created supply chain challenges due as racking materials were delayed in the port and erectors from Bosnia were halted by travel restrictions. Despite these challenges – and others – the Griffco team delivered the Americold Gateway project on time and within budget.

In December 2020, Cold Summit Development came up with the idea to launch Cold Summit Dallas, the first multitenant, speculative cold storage project in the United States. The goals were clear – to deliver an exceptional, forward-thinking, flexible and energy efficient cold storage facility to the market. Primus Builders Inc. quickly became the clear choice as the design-build partner to make the project a reality. Plans were in motion for the 344,000-squarefoot greenfield cold storage facility, which needed convertible freezers (-20F to 55F), truck docks, office space and maintenance areas. As the facility needed to be a multitenant complex with four individual tenant areas, a lot of planning was required to ensure each section had enough to make it attractive to tenants. Primus faced several challenges during the design and construction of the project. Not the least of which was the site spanned two municipalities – the City of Lancaster and the City of Dallas – and that created issues with permits and Authorities Having Jurisdiction requirements. Weather also played a factor as Texas experienced the biggest ice storm in its history during the building process, which forced Primus to shut the project down for two weeks. The deep freeze also made it difficult to receive building materials. Still, thanks to the diligence and communication, the project was completed on time and within budget.

Ryan Companies U.S. Inc. was chosen by The Kroger Co. to evaluate its distribution network, and the design-build firm offered schematic designs and estimates for several projects. That led to Kroger hiring Ryan Companies to build a new fulfillment center – Kroger Ocado. The FC 04 facility included spaces for distribution, including four levels of mezzanines, office and maintenance and three temperature zones in the warehouse. Approximately 50% of the warehouse space is refrigerated to 34 degree F plus there is a -10-degree F freezer space, and temperaturecontrolled space at grocery store ambient temperature. The 419,317-square-foot Kroger Ocado Fulfillment Center is one of the first of its kind in the United States. It offers seamless, efficient and comprehensive fulfillment with direct-toconsumer grocery service using a heavily automated facility featuring hundreds of advanced robots managed by air-traffic control systems. That created some challenges, as the design team needed to work meticulously to create a design that met the requirements of the robotics placed in the warehouse. And even when four months of record rainfall threatened the project at inception, the Ryan Companies was able to deliver the project on time and on budget, thanks to a successful plan of stabilizing the soil with cement dust and keeping open communication with subcontractors.

Source:Cold Facts November/December  2022 issue


December 5, 2022


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