Americold breaks ground on $80 million expansion

Lori Hammelman
Posted 8/28/17

Officials from the City of Rochelle joined with those from the State of Illinois at Americold’s groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.

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Americold breaks ground on $80 million expansion


ROCHELLE — Officials from the City of Rochelle joined with those from the State of Illinois at Americold’s groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.

The $80 million investment will expand their Rochelle operations with the addition of a 14-story temperature controlled building, set to add about 75 new jobs at the end of 2018.

During the ceremony, the Illinois Dept. of Commerce director Sean McCarthy expressed gratitude for Americold’s investment in the state. He also touched on the fact that Rochelle is perched in an ideal location surrounded by two Interstate highways, at the crossroads of two Class One railroads, and near Illinois waterway systems.

A representative from Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s office addressed attendees, also expressing thanks to Rochelle Mayor Chet Olson, the Americold team, and everyone involved with the project. Mayor Olson said this is the second addition for Americold since opening their facility in Rochelle in 1995.

“This is a great addition to our community. We are very appreciative and thankful to Americold for their continued support of the community,” said Mayor Olson.

The new facility is the third of its kind in North America, utilizing an automatic storage and retrieval system. What will make this unique is the fire suppression capabilities make it virtually fireproof, eliminating a potential fire’s capability to spread by reducing the oxygen in the building.

“The design of the building is to be low oxygen, which means there won’t be fire suppression but will be fire prevention,” explained Americold General Manager Dan Lundquist. “In the environment there is so little oxygen that you won’t be able to have an ignition source.”

Americold has over 160 locations around the world, with over 30 in the region. Lundquist also mentioned the project is technology at its finest.

“It’s an exciting time for the community of Rochelle and the organization,” Lundquist said. “This industry is full of conventional warehousing…utilizing lift trucks, people, and a lot of space to do it…this will be using automation and leveraging some technology. That’s what’s really exciting about it. This is not again traditional or typical in this type of industry and definitely not in this area.”

The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2018.