Full Plate of Earth Served Up for Pasta Plant Construction

Mon September 18, 2006 - Northeast Edition
Mary Reed



On July l4, Kirk Trofholz, president of Barilla America Inc., journeyed to upstate New York to visit the site of the company’s largest current global investment.

Barilla, headquartered in Bannockburn, IL, is constructing a pasta plant and distribution center in Avon, NY, situated approximately 50 mi. (80.5 km) from Buffalo and 23 mi. (37 km) from Rochester. The upstate New York site beat out 54 possible locations.

When completed, the 49-acre facility will feature a 1,100,000-sq.-ft. (102,193 sq. m) pasta-making plant manufacturing more than 40 types of pasta. The 200,000-sq.-ft. (18,581 sq. m) distribution center will be operated by Jacobson Warehouse Company of Des Moines, IA, which also runs Barilla’s distribution center in Ames, IA. Combined, the two activities will provide 120 jobs, interviews for which will begin in October and November. The first employees will clock on in January 2007. Initially there will be two 12-hour shifts operating two lines, with another pair of lines to be added by 2009.

Pasta production at Avon is expected to begin by the middle of June 2007.

The facility will be fully operational by June 2009, at which time Barilla estimates it will produce l00,000 tons (90,718 t) of pasta per annum. The plant will be located approximately 30 mi. (48 km) from Fairport, NY, the home of Li Destri Foods, which bottles tomato sauce for Barilla America.

The new plant will serve the northeastern states, which provide more than half the company’s sales in this country. Studies have shown that residents of these states dine on twice the national average of pasta consumed each year.

Funding for the Project

The Avon plant is the second to be built for Barilla in this country, and the funding comes from a rich mixture of sources.

To begin with, Barilla will invest $87.7 million. The project is eligible for a NYS Jobs Now capital grant of up to $600,000 to put toward the cost of construction and purchase of land, as well as up to $750,000 from the New York Governor’s Office For Small Cities as a contribution to capital costs related to the project.

The companies also are eligible for tax breaks because the land is part of New York’s Empire Zone program. In addition, the Livingston County Industrial Development Agency may apply to the NY State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) for a combination low interest loan/grant not to exceed $877,500 via their Industrial Access Program in order to further the project.

Construction So Far

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, headquartered in Baltimore, is the general contractor and construction manager for the project.

Preparatory work began on June 12, 2006, and clearing and grubbing, erosion control, and earthwork are currently taking place.

To date, approximately 100,000 cu. yds. (76,455 cu m) have been moved, using a variety of bulldozers ranging from Caterpillar D5s to D8s as well as eight to 10 627 BPP Caterpillar scrapers and John Deere 330 and Komatsu PC300 excavators among other machinery. All equipment used on site is owned by Pooler Enterprises Inc., of Fishers, NY, which is responsible not only for the earthwork but also for underground utilities, concrete pads and asphalt paving.

“This is a great project for the earthmovers to stretch their legs and really go to work,” said Denny Pooler of Pooler Enterprises. “We are extremely excited about the fast pace of the whole project and are proud to be able to put our name on this project alongside a great company like Whiting-Turner.”

Faithful+Gould (F+G) is providing construction management services to Barilla and is the on-site owner’s representative. F+G is a construction consultant and part of the WS Atkins group of companies. It can provide individual project management support services during any phase of project development.

Other subcontractors on the job include:

• C. P. Ward Inc. is responsible for a temporary construction access road to the site;

• Crosby-Brownlie Inc., mechanical contractors, was selected for the mechanical/HVAC work;

• Schuler-Haas Electric Corporation will handle building utility electrical work; and

• Billitier Electrical Inc. is slated to carry out the high-voltage electrical substation work.

All companies are based in Rochester, NY.

The site is located in the newly founded Livingston County Industrial Complex and bidding for the park infrastructure and utilities is currently under way. New York State considers the site sensitive because of potential historic artifacts and an extensive archeological investigation was completed before any site work began.

In addition, the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has established a specific protocol to be followed if historic items are found during construction.

About Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Founded in 1909, the company provides construction management and design-build services, as well as undertaking general and specialty contracting. It offers its nationwide clients expert oversight through special project teams assembled individually for each project and tailored to the needs of the job. These teams are supported by in-house mechanical, concrete and steel and electrical specialists. Its projects include Sellinger School of Business at Loyola College, the Joseph B. Whitehead Building at Emory University, and the Vaccine Facility at Chesapeake Biological Laboratories Inc. in Baltimore.