October 17 marked the grand opening for United States Cold Storage’s (USCS) new food distribution warehouse in Laredo, Texas. Stellar, a fully integrated firm focused on design, engineering, construction and mechanical services worldwide, designed and built the 232,366-square-foot facility.
The distribution warehouse handles a variety of produce goods, including strawberries and avocados. The $35-million green field project included designing and constructing various elements, including: 10°F freezer area; 35°F cooler area; refrigerated loading dock with 21 truck doors; separate cross-dock area with four truck doors for inspections and trans-loads; state-of-the-art refrigerated repack room tempering room; 27,000 pallet positions; fully secure drop trailer yard with 50 spots for ease of import/export of goods and border crossings; bonded warehouse; 24,000 square feet of office space
Ground was broken for the construction project in August of 2017, and the cold storage logistics complex was completed in March of this year. The timing of the Mexican strawberry harvest drove the eight-month schedule.
“Not only was it a race against the clock to avoid missing the harvest and losing product, but significant weather delays posed a challenge as well,” said Mark Momberg, senior project manager at Jacksonville, Florida-headquartered Stellar. “Work was halted for 28 days of rain and two days of snow. To stay on schedule, we brought in additional crews that worked ten-hour days and six- to seven-day weeks.”
“US Cold Storage has had a presence in Laredo for over 50 years, and we have forged many relationships with our customers for as long. As food trade with Mexico continues to grow, we found ourselves in a position to respond to our customers’ growing needs with more space,” said George Cruz, senior vice president for USCS in the southern region. “Time was a huge concern as many imported agricultural products have specific windows for harvesting and manufacturing. This is where Stellar came in with an unprecedented timeline to build this state-of-the-art facility. The tenacity and perseverance of the teamwork between Stellar and US Cold Storage was spot on! The facility was built in record time, and we were able to accommodate our customers’ demand during the 2018 peak season.”
Stellar has extensive experience designing and constructing refrigerated warehouses and distribution facilities, and the firm has completed numerous projects for USCS during their 30-plus-year relationship.
Vorhees, New Jersey-headquartered United States Cold Storage offers more than 291 million cubic feet of temperature-controlled warehouse and distribution space in 40 facilities located in 13 states including California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. The subsidiary of the United Kingdom-headquartered John Swire & Sons Ltd. is the third largest PRW Logistics provider in North America.