(Carl Cronan is editor of RealEstateFlorida.)

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LAKE CITY, FL-Ryan Cos. US Inc. has completed its firstperishable food distribution center for Target Corp. in northeastFlorida, near the crossroads of Interstates 10 and 75. The430,000-sf facility will begin serving SuperTarget storesthroughout the Southeast by the end of summer.

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The Lake City distribution site, which took roughly two years tocomplete, will handle fresh produce as well as frozen andrefrigerated foods, with wall heights between 24 and 80 feet tostore and ship goods bound for SuperTarget coolers. The buildingfeatures pre-finished metal and pre-cast concrete wall panels,along with metal and glass accents to make it appear lessindustrial to interstate travelers.

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A two-stage ammonia refrigeration system is used to cool varioussegments of the building to desired temperatures, including backuppower generators. Ryan engineers developed a system using minimalelectricity and water, providing 50% greater efficiency thanstandard refrigeration systems in smaller distribution centers.

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"The Lake City project is a wonderful entry into the Floridamarket for Ryan," Doug Dieck, president of Ryan's Southeastdivision based in Tampa, stated in a release. "It speaks to thedepth and breadth of what is possible in warehouse efficiency."

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Target and Ryan, both headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, havecollaborated on six previous industrial projects with servicesranging from site selection and due diligence to design-build andconstruction services. Last year, they completed a distributioncomplex in Savannah, GA, totaling 4 million sf in three buildingshandling non-perishable and imported items.

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SuperTarget is among Florida's top-ten grocery store chainsdespite having only 24 stores and 1.8% market share, according tothe Shelby Report, an industry publication. The leading statewidegrocery chains are Publix, with 40% market share; Wal-Mart, 25%;and Winn-Dixie, 13%.

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Ryan is also building a Target food distribution center in CedarFalls, IA, that will be similar to the Lake City facility uponopening late next summer. For both projects, the developer's designand construction team is utilizing a Building Information Modeling(BIM) system that helps design intent, perform estimating andquantity takeoffs, and coordinate on-site activities.

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"It lets the entire team provide their individual opinions andtest our collective assumptions, as we can literally put thebuilding together piece by piece, before we even break ground,"says Anthony Johnson, Ryan's senior project manager. He adds thatthe system also helps reduce material and labor costs, along withaddressing weather-related scheduling problems.

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