Laredo, TX — A M King has completed construction of a south Texas distribution center for Mexico-based GAB Operations, LLC (GAB). The new 45,590-sf facility will provide increased cold storage capacity for fresh produce and serve as a hub for the company’s U.S. and Canadian customers.
GAB, founded more than four decades ago in Guanajuato, Mexico, specializes in the production, development, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits. Items include broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and other leafy greens, varieties of lettuce, celery, sweet corn, snow peas, pumpkin, sweet mini peppers, berries, and more. In addition, the company, which operates under the brand names Mr. Lucky and Covemex, is one of the largest garlic and organic tomato producers in Mexico, prepares fresh-cut produce for food service clients and provides pre-packed salads and private-label products for many U.S.-based produce businesses. Fifteen years ago, the company initiated internal food safety standards and set its own documentation and traceability program. They use the latest technology in advanced irrigation systems, integrated fertigation and pest management systems to guarantee delivery of high-quality produce worldwide.
GAB’s Laredo distribution center is located in the Pinnacle Industry Center, which is just minutes from the Rio Grande River, World Trade Bridge border crossing and the Laredo International Airport. It is neighbor to Mission Produce’s new 262,000-sf greenfield ripening, processing and distribution center, a recently completed A M King project.
“We’re thrilled to have completed another prominent produce project in Laredo,” says Dan Crist, A M King Vice President. “Our food industry expertise, coupled with our track record of successfully completed cold storage and distribution facilities, put us in a great position to design and build this project, and serve as a resource for a new international client.”
“A M King designed and built an excellent facility for us in Laredo,” says Jaime Usabiaga, GAB General Manager. “Because we’ll have storage for an additional two million pounds of frozen produce plus day holding capacity for fresh, we will not have to rely on outside storage and can provide faster delivery and service to our customers.”
The GAB distribution center not only houses the cold storage warehouse and GAB offices but will also feature a trucker dormitory where fleet drivers may rest before continuing their route. During the design phase, A M King worked with GAB to ensure that the layout and flow of the space met current as well as future needs. As part of the process, our team included a forced air cooler to bring the temperature of the produce down quickly and safely and incorporated different vertical leveler lengths for cargo flexibility.
In addition, the client opted for all dock positions to be drive-thru application, which allows truck drivers to leave their doors closed until they are fully backed into a loading dock position. The doors are then opened from inside the facility, providing means for exercising high quality control standards. This design requires a wider dock door opening and larger shelter, but it is one of the most energy efficient designs an owner can implement, especially in a hot climate like Laredo where exterior temperatures can exceed 120-degrees.
The workspace design consists of a large open area with manager offices around its perimeter, allowing employees to social distance more easily. The open office area has a high ceiling and open workspaces for collaboration among the employees. All the private offices have full lite glazed doors to promote a team building environment, as well as an abundance of natural light. The space includes a copy area, conference room and break room. In addition, the GAB owner team wanted to provide employees with outdoor amenities, which includes a sizeable patio space equipped with comfortable furniture.
Dock employees have their own breakroom/training room, lockers and toilets. The truck drivers’ dormitory features a lounge, shower/ toilet area and two exterior doors to help create a single flow through the space. It will only be accessed by fleet drivers.
The scope of work on this project includes 7,717 sf of refrigerated spaces ranging from 34-45 degrees; a 13,030-sf, -10-degree freezer; 2,502 sf of 75-degree dry storage; 10 dock positions and 4,570 sf of office space. In addition, there is 82,000 sf of concrete truck apron adjacent to the building. The exterior of the warehouse was constructed using Insulated Metal Panel (IMP), but the office section presents an EIFS/Stucco finish and a decorative metal accent panel system.