Laredo, TX—Integrated Design-Build firm A M King and Mission Produce Inc., global leader in the worldwide avocado business, celebrated the grand opening of Mission’s largest forward distribution center on Wednesday, September 29.
A M King provided property consulting for the Oxnard, CA-based company and designed and built the 262,000-square foot facility, which includes cold storage, ripening, processing, and packaging space. The building is located in Laredo’s Pinnacle Industry Center on 32.6 acres adjacent to the Rio Grande River and the Mexican Border. The new facility, which holds the distinction of being the largest avocado plant in North America, will allow the company to capitalize on the continued popularity of its signature product in the nation’s busiest land port.
The day’s festivities included an official ribbon cutting, visits from various state and local dignitaries, tours of the finished facility, and a live recording of The Produce Industry Podcast with Patrick Kelly, which highlighted roundtable discussions and a private tour with Mission Produce and A M King key players.
Carl Morse, A M King’s Business Unit Leader said, “I very much enjoyed collaborating with the Mission Produce team to identify complex challenges and offer innovative solutions that ultimately resulted in a unique, first-class, state-of-the-art avocado ripening and processing plant.”
“A M King is the go-to builder in the produce industry – we rely on them to design and construct the advanced avocado-specific infrastructure that is pivotal to the success of our network,” said Steve Barnard, chief executive officer and founder of Mission Produce. “They successfully constructed the largest state-of-the-art facility we’ve done in North America, all while staying professional, on-time and on-budget. Their design of our cold storage facilities supports the efficiency and consistency of our high-quality fresh Hass avocados and mangos.”
A M King’s full site consultancy services included analysis of the property currently needed by the business today, as well as for future planned expansions. In addition, A M King managed the complicated process of acquiring the site while meeting all zoning and municipal ordinances specific to site development of greenfield land in the City of Laredo.
Like any food facility that A M King designs and builds, sanitary design measures are paramount. In this facility, there are a number of elements with this focus, including floor drains for room washing and washable surfaces (concrete floor, Insulated Metal Panel walls); structural steel tubes in lieu of W beams (avoiding surfaces for dust collecting); and installation of sinks in the packaging areas. In addition, several sustainability processes were implemented, such as rainwater management, heat island reduction, daylighting and focus on energy performance.
A M King’s scope of work included design and construction of 10 ripening rooms with capacity for 36 rooms; 2,600 pallets for fruit ripening; a dedicated mango room for the company’s newest product line introduced this year; 40 docks; coolers; forced air cooler; dry goods storage; a bagging and production area; quality control; administrative offices, security and dispatch; Border Patrol office; and USDA office.
The 12,000-square-foot second-floor mezzanine, which houses conference rooms, office areas and collaborative space with high end finishes, brings the total square footage of the facility to 274,000 square feet.