Charlotte, NC — A M King, a leading integrated Design-Build firm with offices in Charlotte, NC, Greenville, S.C. and Chicago, IL, was recognized nationally by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) for the company’s exemplary project delivery of a new 275,000-square-foot avocado ripening and processing facility for Mission Produce, Inc. in Laredo, Texas. A M King took second place in the Industrial ($25 million-$50 million) category, winning ABC’s Pyramid Award for Excellence in Construction (EIC). A M King received its Pyramid Award at ABC’s 33rd annual EIC gala in Orlando, Florida, on March 16, 2023.
A M King qualified for ABC’s national competition by winning the “Best in Class” Eagle Award for this same project at the ABC Carolinas chapter level last November. National winners were selected from hundreds of entries submitted from across the country. They were judged on complexity, attractiveness, unique challenges overcome, completion time, innovation and safety.
ABC National’s Pyramid Award for Excellence in Construction is the fourth prestigious recognition award presented to A M King for its Design-Build delivery of what is now one of North America’s largest avocado ripening and processing facilities. Beyond the ABC national and regional awards, A M King won the 2022 Best Project in the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Southeast Region’s Awards competition, and earned National Finalist status in the 2022 “Built by the Best” Awards program sponsored by the Controlled Environment Building Association (CEBA).
Mission Produce Inc. — a world leader in sourcing, ripening, processing and distributing fresh Hass avocados — selected A M King for this critical project based on our expertise, qualifications and reputation in the food industry, combined with the firm’s deep experience and specialization in Design-Build delivery.
Dan Crist, A M King Vice President, explained “Mission Produce had a clear vision for developing their North American flagship facility. Mission’s leadership wanted to build their largest and most innovative facility of its type yet – and the innovation is evident to all who visit the completed facility. They were very intentional about positioning the facility to expedite imported fruit from Mexico, serving as a major hub for avocados coming from Mexico to the U.S., as well as providing greater flexibility and expanded capabilities for their growing customer base.”
A M King provided property consulting services in addition to designing and building the mega-facility, which includes cold storage, ripening, processing, and packaging space. The property is located in Laredo’s Pinnacle Industry Center on 33 acres adjacent to the Rio Grande River and the U.S.-Mexico border. The strategically located facility allows Mission Produce to capitalize on the continued popularity of its signature product in the nation’s busiest land port.
This year’s ABC EIC judges included representatives from At Home, the Design-Build Institute of America, Engineering News-Record, Marriott, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Building Sciences, T-Mobile, the University Research Institute and various construction-related firms nationwide.
Award-Winning Project Details | Mission Produce Avocado Ripening & Processing Facility
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, we 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.
This previously undeveloped tract of land, while destined to be a new business park, posed multiple challenges and required significant effort and planning so that construction could begin as scheduled. Our team managed an accelerated process wherein we were able to gain the approvals and infrastructure necessary to begin construction on this site in accordance with the desired start date.
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 42 pallets per ripening room; 2,600 pallets for fruit ripening; a dedicated mango room for the company’s product line introduced in 2021; 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 13,000-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 275,000 square feet.