Danvers, MA – In late 2019, Whole Foods Market embarked on an expansion of their refrigerated distribution center in Cheshire, CT, to support the significant growth of their store development program throughout the North Atlantic and Northeast Regions. As more consumers turned to online grocery shopping, the demand for cold storage space skyrocketed, and the business case for Whole Foods to grow this facility became even more essential.
As a longtime construction partner of Whole Foods Market and expert in cold storage and distribution facilities, CM&B, Inc., a prominent Boston-based construction management firm and general contractor, was retained to build the ground-up 81,000 SF addition project. This would be CM&B’s fourth and most significant phase of work at this facility over a 10-year period.
Early engagement and planning were key to the project’s success. The original design called for removal, off-site disposal, and replacement of a significant volume of unsuitable soils. Through extensive feasibility and on-site investigations, CM&B and the engineering team collaborated to develop an earth exchange plan to cut suitable soils at the existing perimeter slopes around the site, ultimately avoiding the significant cost of imported replacement soils. Additionally, despite an active and fully occupied project site with ongoing trucking operations, all site preparation and foundation work was completed ahead of winter, avoiding the potential for added winter conditions costs.
Darin Overton, Principal Civil Engineer at SLR, said, “CM&B has been a great collaborative partner that we have worked with on this site for years through several facility expansions and upgrades. As the property has continued to develop over time, the site constraints have become more challenging. The CM&B team has always encouraged us to explore alternatives to improve the project and reduce cost. The earthwork exchange plan was a brilliant solution that allowed for huge savings over imported material and minimized traffic on surrounding roadways that would have disrupted other businesses and residents in the area. While this created logistical challenges for CM&B, they were able to solve those issues with operations staff and deliver the added benefit of utilizing on-site materials.”
Through careful coordination and phasing, the trucking and refrigerated distribution center remained fully operational during the entire construction process, including the summer months.
When the project was turned over to Whole Foods Market, a WFM construction lead remarked, “The CM&B team was dedicated to the success of the project and focused on the positive impact it would have on our business from day one. Despite working through a global pandemic, winter weather conditions, and significant logistical challenges, they delivered the project on time and on budget. They are a truly remarkable team.”
Construction of 81,000-SF building expansion including loading docks and refrigerated storage
Renovations within existing distribution center including multi-level dock offices, re-racking, and expansion of employee facilities.
All construction completed around ongoing distribution center operations
64-week construction schedule proceeded continuously through winter and COVID-19 conditions to accomplish the Owner’s schedule requirements.
Complete reconstruction of trailer storage area, including drainage improvements, site lighting, grading changes, concrete pads, and paving while maintaining continuous trucking operations.
Access improvements including entrance roadway widening and security provisions.