Westrock to Build $70M, 530K-SF Distribution Center in Conway

Westrock to Build $70M, 530K-SF Distribution Center in Conway
A rendering of the 530,000-SF Westrock Coffee Co. distribution center planned for Conway. The 72-dock building is expected to be complete later this year. (Tempus Realty Partners/Lewis Architects Engineers)

Westrock Coffee Co. of Little Rock said Monday that it will build a 530,000-SF distribution center in Conway, a little more than 2 miles away from its new manufacturing facility there.

The publicly traded coffee, tea and extracts company said the $70 million center will be located on a 30-acre site off William J. Clark Drive near I-40 in Conway. It said the tilt-wall distribution center, which will be fully occupied by Westrock, is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Westrock said it is developing the project with Tempus Realty Partners of Little Rock, a private real estate investment partnership.

In a news release, Westrock co-founder and Chairman Joe T. Ford said the center will allow the company "to more efficiently and effectively serve our customers with our innovative beverage solutions."

"This new facility is a testament to our commitment to meeting the growing demand for our products and providing the highest level of service to our valued clients. We look forward to continuing to expand our presence in central Arkansas, and drive Westrock Coffee's growth and success in the industry," he said.

The 36-ft. clear-height center will feature 72 dock doors and an ESFR sprinkler system. It will support product and packaging produced at Westrock Coffee's expanded extract and ready-to-drink manufacturing facility, which Westrock is putting in the 524,000-SF former Kimberly-Clark facility at 480 Exchange Ave. in Conway. The company began renovating the property in November and says it will be the world's largest ready-to-drink packaging plant when completed.

Will Ford, Westrock's group president of operations, said the beverage industry is undergoing "seismic shifts in consumption preferences," and the new center will help the company's customers "continue to innovate."

A Google Maps image showing the location of Westrock Coffee's planned distribution center in Conway (© Google)
A Google Maps image showing the location of Westrock Coffee's planned distribution center in Conway (© Google)

Westrock, which went public last year through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, touts itself as a leading North American private brand provider of custom coffee, tea, flavors, extracts and ingredients to retailers and those in the food service and hospitality industries. The company says it is the No. 1 private-label coffee and tea provider to U.S. restaurants by volume, and the No. 2 extract provider in ready-to-drink coffee.

Chris Pledger, Westrock's chief financial officer, told Arkansas Business before going public last year that key parts of Westrock's growth will be linked to capturing the consumer shift to cold-brew coffee, as well as flavors, extracts and ingredients for branded and private-label items, such as ice creams, sauces and baked goods.

The $275 million Conway extracts and ready-to-drink facility will be key to meeting that demand, he said. The facility is expected to start producing in 2024.

Shares of Westrock (Nasdaq: WEST) closed at $12.91 on Monday.

Tempus, the private real estate investment partnership, has commercial real estate properties across the country. The company launched in 2016 and is led by Dan Andrews, managing partner. Last year, the Tempus family of real estate investment funds raised $92.2 million spread across five portfolios, according to Arkansas Business' latest list of private investment offerings.

Other partners in Tempus are Isaac Smith, executive vice president and principal at Colliers International Arkansas; Kevin Huchingson, CEO of Colliers International Arkansas; and Mark Saviers, partner with Cushman & Wakefield/Sage Partners in Rogers.

Colliers International Arkansas represented Tempus in the deal. Westrock Coffee was represented by Ted Dickey of Lighthouse Asset Advisors of Little Rock.

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