Distribution Center, Food Processing & Cold Storage, Structural Precast

Centralia Distribution Center


Project Outline

At a Glance

Industry: Private, Commercial
Markets: Food Storage & Processing, Controlled Atmosphere
Services: Planning and Design, Construction, Precast Concrete Fabrication and Erection
Type of Facility: Packing, Storage, Controlled Atmosphere, Distribution
Size: 550,000 sq. ft.
Location: Chelan, WA

In August of 2016, a devastating wild fire destroyed nearly all structures of Chelan Fruit’s main facility. The team at Chelan Fruit was very concerned because hundreds of co-op partners relied on them for cleaning, storing, packing, marketing and shipping their apples to market. Without Chelan Fruits services they had thousands of acres of fruit with no way to sell to the end user. The timing meant that, unless they could get a new facility in an incredibly quick timeline, they would miss the next harvest and their business, as well as the farmers they served, could suffer greatly.

Bethlehem was onsite the day after the fire began to see how we could help. With less than one year to demolish, haul off wreckage, regrade site, install new utilities, design and permit a new facility and then construct it to meet current building requirements, the task seemed impossible. Another contractor had told the owner it couldn’t be done to accommodate the 2017 harvest.

We are from a community of agriculture and farmers, and we know how important the work that Chelan does is to our fellow community members, so we knew we had to find a way to work with them to get their new facility up and running before the 2017 harvest. Bethlehem knows tight timelines and knew that if we used precast and ran the project very tightly, we were probably the only company that could see this project done in time. Besides that we love a good challenge.

This project included building multiple new facilities, including controlled atmosphere and warehousing. Our team worked with the owners at Chelan to prioritize the work, and we started with the controlled atmosphere storage, to ensure we had a place to store the fruit that was coming in on the front end of the project’s completion.

This project’s biggest challenge was the high speed of construction needed to meet the tight timeline. But our team met every deadline and still ensured quality and gave attention to every detail along the way. Despite the challenges of working through the winter with snow, rain, and ice, our team used a strategic approach to keep progress moving forward and ensure that each aspect of the project was met in the right order.

Chelan’s new facility is not only newer and bigger, but it is also more efficient, improving their operations and accommodating new packing lines and processes. We even included architectural precast details, such as a unique, custom-designed precast roof panel with an apple design cast into the underside of their front entryway awning.

“The difference between Bethlehem Construction vs the others, is that Bethlehem is knowledgable from start to finish.”


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