Cold Storage Retrofit Solutions

Global Cold Chain Alliance


ARCO National Construction’s 116,766 SF retrofit project for Alpine Foods Distributing, Inc. represents cold storage construction trend.

ARCO National Construction is partnering with Alpine Foods Distributing, Inc., a growing West Coast food redistributor, on a 116,766 SF cold storage facility retrofit project in Southern California. The project represents a trend in cold storage construction as many owners are choosing to retrofit rather than build new. Continued demand for temperature-controlled facilities, coupled with a surplus of existing industrial space, has made retrofitting an attractive solution that offers both location and schedule benefits.

As a design-builder with extensive cold storage experience, ARCO National Construction is currently partnering with companies like Alpine Foods on 10 additional retrofit projects totaling nearly three million square feet of space in major markets nationwide.

Benefits of Retrofitting

With speed to market and proximity to population centers, labor, and raw materials driving decisions for many owners, choosing to retrofit offers the potential to simultaneously prioritize schedule and location. This is especially true in high-demand markets where land constraints and costs are pushing new developments farther away from urban areas. Retrofitting can also allow for increased capacity or expanded operations to occur much earlier than it would when building a new facility as valuable time is saved due to the building shell and infrastructure being in place.

Through strategic design decisions, in ideal settings, retrofitting can allow for the space needed for owners’ unique operations, including automation, equipment, and process line upgrades when increasing overall capacity within an existing footprint. Analyzing key elements that drive design such as packaging methods, outbound shipping, dry packaged flow, equipment footprint and impact on utilities, and flow of ingredients or raw materials into the building through storage and into production, allows for the most functional use of the space. Expert sequencing of these specifications also aids in effective master schedule planning.

While retrofitting can offer many benefits in terms of location and schedule, there are still potential challenges, including structural reinforcement, upgraded power requirements, floor slab removal and replacements for freezer and production users, upgrading or upsizing sanitary and domestic water utilities, and increased electrical service requirements (including new switch gear). These items should all be considered when making the decision to retrofit or build new.

Advantages of Design-Build Delivery

Owners can expand upon the benefits offered from retrofitting by partnering with an experienced design-build contractor. ARCO National Construction helps clients navigate strategic real estate, design, and capital allocation decisions during a project’s early planning stages and develops the best overall solutions for space utilization. Further, unlike traditional delivery methods that treat the phases of design, bidding, and construction sequentially, the design-build process combines the benefits of design ownership, financial risk, management of capital expense, and expediting schedule all under a single point of responsibility. Preliminary design is completed during the proposal process, and owners benefit from the speed at which design-build delivery moves in both retrofitting and new build scenarios.

About the Project

The 116,766-square-foot cold storage retrofit project will support Alpine Foods’ growing business, providing increased operational efficiencies, shorter lead times, just-in-time product availability, and additional resources for seamless operations. Features will include over 40,000 SF of freezer/cooler space, including nearly 10,000 SF of convertible space capable of accommodating temperatures ranging from -10°F to 40°F, and a 2,455 SF production cooler for produce processing, as well as over 50,000 SF of ambient storage. Additional construction details include a transcritical CO2 refrigeration system, 15 dock positions, and 26’6” clear height.


Brian Westre

Vice President & Operating Partner

Matt Mast

Director of Business Development



With millions of square feet of cold storage construction each year, ARCO is a trusted cold storage facility builder for food and beverage clients nationwide. From distribution centers to processing facilities, ARCO knows the key components that need to be explored in the early stages of planning to ensure the most functional and efficient freezer/cooler facility.

Tagged in