Laredo Council Signs Incentive Agreement for $18 Million Cold Storage Facility
Feature Illustrations: Preliminary concepts of the front-end office building associated with a 100,000 SF cold storage and shipping facility. Courtesy: West Pak Avocado Inc.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Laredo (Webb County) — City Council entered into an economic development incentive agreement with a California-based international fresh produce grower, packer, shipper and marketer to secure their commitment to construct a 100,000 square-foot cold storage, manufacturing and distribution facility.
The California company will invest approximately $17.9 million during the construction phase (Year 1) of the new facility.
Teclo Garcia, the city’s economic development director, said Laredo was in competition with the city of Mcallen, which already has an operation with the same company. The company made its first site visit to Laredo in December 2020.
The facility, once in operation, will create at lest 140 full-time jobs with wages starting at $15/hour, standard benefits, and a paid internship program.
Pinnacle Industry Center, future home of a West Pak Avocado Inc. distribution and shipping facility.
The council approved the relevant documents, a Chapter 380 Economic Development Grant Agreement, at their June 7 regular session. The cold storage plant will be located in north Laredo off Mines Road on a 6.6-acre tract at the Pinnacle Industry Center.
West Pak Avocado Inc., the owner-developer, have five distribution centers in the United States and Mexico and sources its avocados from 1,000 growers in the U.S., Mexico, Peru and Chile.
The estimated capital costs include $1,465,000 for the site and $16,465,000 for completion of the facility. The agreement terms require that West Pak Avocado close on the land transaction by Aug. 31.
For its part, the city will provide a sliding percentage tax rebate of total valuation over a seven-year period, beginning in the first year of operation. However, “Year One” can no later than 2023.
It is West Pak Avocado’s expectation that the building will be of sustainable design and the front section (offices) will be LEED certified. The partial breakdown of costs for the structure and equipment was provided:
$8 million for a 100,000 square-foot Sprung Structure
$1.1 million for building front end offices
$2 million for coolers
$1 million for cold dock
$1.5 million for ripening rooms
$1,222,000 for the packing line; this includes a bin feed system, four-lane sizer, Invision system, automated tray fillers, and manual exit conveyor system
A Sprung Structure has no eaves and the wall-roof section is fully insulated, providing an environmental seal.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.