North America’s largest freezer nearing completion in Washington

Richland, Washington, US: One of the largest refrigerated warehouse in North America is under construction in north Richland, Washington.


The walls and roof of Preferred Freezer’s new warehouse are supported by the rack.

The 455,000 square-foot, 116-foot tall building will be the largest refrigerated warehouse in North America and largest automated freezer in the world when it opens in July, said Burnie Taylor, general manager of the new building for New Jersey-based Preferred Freezer Services.

The last metal support frame of the $115 million building will be installed on the south side of the building by Tuesday, and the structure soon will be fully covered with thousands of 40-foot tall by 4-foot wide white insulated metal panels.

“It’s not like your conventional building where you’ll see columns and steel girders,” said RJ Burton, vice president of Indianapolis-based Victory Unlimited Construction, the construction contractor. “The walls are supported by the rack. The roof is supported by the rack.”

Three 104,000 square-foot freezers will be located inside the building, built on 40 acres off Kingsgate Way in the Horn Rapids Industrial Park. Plans call for them each to be set at minus 10 degrees, but that can be adjusted.

“It has room for expansion for another 104,000 square-foot box in case this isn’t big enough,” Burton said.

About 2 billion pounds of food will pass through the building in a year, Taylor said. It can store 110,000 pallets or more than 200 million pounds of food at a time, he said. Each freezer will be run automatically.

“The only reason anyone walks into the freezer is for maintenance,” he said.

The facility will store frozen fruits, vegetables, meat and pre-made meals to be shipped both to stores and restaurants, Taylor said. It will run 24 hours a day, with workers on 12-hour shifts. Preferred Freezer Services will operate the building for multiple customers.”

Preferred Freezer Services has 32 freezer warehouses in the United States plus three in Asia. But Taylor said the Richland site will be its first in the Northwest. “There is a solid customer base. There is a growing agriculture base here,” he said. “We decided it’s a good fit.”

The west side of the building will have a two-story administration area, including a control room and lounge for workers, Taylor said. It will also have a semitruck bay featuring 35 doors, 18 for inbound trucks and 17 for outgoing trucks. Loading docks will be cooled to between 34 and 36 degrees.

Six more doors on the north side will be served by four rail spurs. Taylor said the warehouse will be able to load 30 to 40 rail cars per day.

Company officials have heard some other ideas for uses of the use tall building. “I like the one about using the east side of the building as a movie screen,” Taylor said.