Testa Produce celebrates opening of green distribution center

By Testa Produce Inc. | May 13, 2011

Testa Produce Inc., Chicago’s premier independent wholesale produce distributor, cut the ribbon this week on its new distribution center. This officially opens the most exciting chapter to date in the family-owned company’s nearly 100-year history. The 91,000-square-foot, $20-million facility, located in the Chicago Stockyards Industrial Park, is on track to become the first foodservice distribution facility in the nation to gain the highest rating available from the U.S. Green Building Council—LEED Platinum certification.

The facility incorporates multiple advanced sustainable features, including:

-Freestanding 238-foot, 750kW wind turbine, the first in Chicago

-100 percent solar-heated hot water

-45,000-square-foot barreled vegetated roof

-Sophisticated rainwater reclamation system, including bio swales to capture run-off, a 5,000-gallon internal cistern, and a 765,000-gallon detention pond

-180 solar panels located on the roof, dock and pole-mounted solar trees in the parking lot

-LED lighting in offices, freezer, outdoor fixtures and dock areas

-Extensive recycling program and use of recycled and reused building materials

-All trucks run on biodiesel

“Four and a half years were spent designing and building this building,” said Peter Testa, President and CEO of Testa Produce, the driving force behind the innovative new distribution center. “There were times we didn’t think we were going to get it done. There were times when I had a little doubt. But all doubts are now erased. We’re very proud of this moment.”

Chicago dignitaries on hand for the ribbon cutting included Cook County Commissioner John Daley; Alderman Jim Balcer; Commissioner of Housing and Economic Development Andy Mooney; Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection Norma Reyes; Craig Chico President of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council; and Mark Heckler, Senior Vice President of MB Financial.

“It seems appropriate that Testa Produce, a company rich in Chicago history and tradition, chose to open this facility in the heart of the former historic Union Stockyards. Not only will this project serve to revitalize a long vacant and blighted parcel, it will serve as a new standard bearer for environmentally sensitive design by incorporating countless sustainable components, not the least of which is the wind turbine, the first of its kind in Chicago,” said Commissioner Mooney. “We’re delighted to see this kind of cutting edge facility open here.”

The new Testa Produce distribution center was designed by Epstein architects. Summit Design + Build served as the construction manager and WBS Equities served as owner’s project consultant. Construction and permanent financing was provided by MB Financial.  All are local Chicago-based concerns.


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