Charlotte, NC–A M King, a leading integrated Design-Build firm with offices in Charlotte, NC, Greenville, SC. and Chicago, IL, has been recognized with a 2022 Best Project Award from the Design-Build Institute of America’s Southeast Region. A M King was singled out for its exemplary project delivery of what is now North America’s largest avocado plant, located in Laredo, TX. The facility, which became operational last fall, is owned by Mission Produce Inc., global leader in the worldwide avocado business.
A M King won Best Project in the Industrial Process/Manufacturing category. The awards presentation took place on April 26 at the 22nd Annual Awards Banquet during the DBIA Southeast Regional Summit held this year at the Kiawah Island Resort near Charleston, SC. Key members of the A M King project team were on hand to accept the award.
Based in Oxnard, CA, Mission Produce had been operating through a small distribution center in Laredo, but Mission executives believed that the southern border of Texas would be the next big growth area and an ideal location for a large-scale food facility. They decided that the best way to serve customers through this location would be by building a combination packing house and distribution center, giving them the ability to ripen, pack, bag, ship and store avocados and mangos under one roof.
A M King provided property consulting services in addition to designing and building Mission’s new 274,000-square-foot facility, which includes cold storage, ripening, processing, and packaging space. The facility is located in Laredo’s Pinnacle Industry Center on 32.6 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.
“The relationship between Mission Produce and A M King began after we successfully delivered a project for another avocado distribution company in which Mission has an ownership stake. That history and A M King’s solid reputation for design and construction excellence in the food processing and distribution sector inspired Mission to engage A M King to design and build their first all-new facility in the U.S.,” said A M King’s Vice President Dan Crist. “Creating an award-winning facility is exciting in itself but knowing how much Mission Produce’s business has already benefitted from our innovative design and fast-track delivery makes this award especially rewarding.”
Because construction start coincided with the initial COVID-19 shutdowns, delivering the project on time was a daunting challenge. Unforeseen pandemic-related issues impacted safety, manpower, material procurement, and more. Through teamwork, A M King overcame these challenges with innovative solutions.
A M King Founder and President Brian T. King, FDBIA, proudly added, “On behalf of A M King’s entire leadership team, I want to congratulate Mission Produce and all of our project team members for such a successful collaborative effort under difficult circumstances. This ‘all-in’ effort resulted in a unique, world-class, state-of-the-art avocado ripening and processing plant that positions Mission for long-term success.”
About DBIA Southeast Awards
DBIA Southeast recognizes exemplary applications of Design-Build Done RightTM that, at a minimum, resulted in highly successful Design-Build projects achieving best-value while meeting design and construction quality, cost and schedule goals. To be considered for a Design-Build award, projects must demonstrate successful application of Design-Build principles including, but not limited to, interdisciplinary collaboration in the early stages of the project and the acceptance of single-entity risk. Winning projects are honored for the advanced and innovative application of total integrated project delivery and finding unique solutions for project challenges.
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, 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 last 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.