Americold Apollo: A Tale of Two Projects

At Primus’s company meeting in February, before Covid and the shut down, Erik Gunderson entered the ballroom in an astronaut costume and planted the Primus flag. That was the day we celebrated winning the Americold Apollo projects.

Flash forward nine months and both projects have broken ground. Their schedules are aggressive (Americold’s commitment to their tenant demands it) and they are nearly identical. The North project just lags the South project a little. 

Both projects have substantial automation components. Dematic is providing the automation design, working hand-in-hand with our Solutions and Design teams. While their particular solution can be found in Europe, it is the first of its kind in the U.S. in terms of complexity. Primus is designing the building as the automation design is finalized. Our Solutions team provided the racking design for the ASRS component. 

The biggest challenge right now is getting the primary power set up. Each site has a massive power demand, and both are in relatively rural areas that have never experienced a demand like this. Primus is working with Americold and local utility companies to make this happen.

Both projects are nearly out of the ground. They have each started foundations. And that’s where the similarities end. The North site has very loose, sandy soil. To combat this, the team installed 2,000+ rigid inclusion piles. On the South site, the team is literally digging into a mountain. They have exported 250,000 cubic yards of soil and rock,175,000 cubic yards of which was blasted rock. Water pressure challenges on the South site require water pumps for domestic and fire protection usage. The North site required asbestos and PCB removal. 

This is the first Primus project to incorporate 4D scheduling. “It’s a great tool,” said Project Manager Michael Cole. “It really helps you visualize the schedule and pick out flaws.”

The team is also using Last Planner in the field. “Communication has been key to managing it all,” said Cole. “Last Planner has been helping us keep our daily conversations – with the owner, with the team, with our subs – loaded with accurate and up-to-date information.”

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