Building Project Q&A: Midwest Refrigerated Services Brown Deer Road Target Building Adaptive Reuse Project

Last updated on December 2nd, 2020 at 01:59 pm

Give us some background on the project:

Midwest Refrigerated Services (MRS) operates cold storage and distribution centers in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. A surge in demand for their services in the Metro Milwaukee area taxed their existing facility beyond capacity. MRS leaders identified a need for regional hub to serve as a cooling and storage facility and distribution center, and house offices, a training facility, and driver amenities. The proximity of the shuttered Brown Deer Road Target Building to their existing facility, as well as Milwaukee Transit Bus Lines, and the I-43 corridor made it an attractive option, but not without its challenges.

What was the scope and size of the project?

For this adaptive reuse project, Consolidated completely gutted the 122,720 square foot Target Building to the bare structure. This included cutting a 126’ X 12’ section out of the front elevation, where eight recessed loading docks were installed. Four inch-thick Insulated Metal Panels were installed to control temperature in the cooler, mitigate thermal transfer, and create a moisture barrier. A 4” layer of insulating foam was placed between the cooler panels and adjacent spaces to ensure ambient temperature control. The roof deck cavities were packed with foam to halt thermal transfer and improve R values. The facility includes the cooler and distribution center, office spaces, workstations, training center, a pair of trucker’s lounges, and fulfillment center. The project was completed in just five months, with more than $1 million in construction performed each month. Safety measures put in place resulted in a perfect safety record.

What makes this project unique?

It’s highly unusual to repurpose an existing structure to fully house a cooler box within the original building footprint. In most cases, buildings constructed for retail or other purposes simply don’t have the desired floor plan or physical properties to properly control temperatures between cold spaces and conditioned spaces (offices, for example), nor to mitigate thermal transfer (the propensity of materials like metal to physically transfer cold from one location to another). When thermal transfer of cold occurs and travels to warm spaces, it creates condensation, which can be devastating for the health of both the building and its occupants.

The typical construction strategy would be to build separate structures for the cooler and office spaces. After touring the building, however, our Director of Architectural Services, Curtis Schroeder, AIA, was able to see beyond the original Target store configuration, and was confident he could adapt the facility to meet the business needs of MRS, while ensuring proper temperature control and thermal transfer mitigation between the cooler box and adjacent spaces. Through thoughtful design and use of innovative building materials, we did just that.

How did this project impact the community?

This project is more than just a rejuvenation of an abandoned building. It represents an investment and commitment on the part of MRS to the surrounding community. The new facility has helped create more than 100 new jobs in this economically challenged area and has become an integral part in future success stories taking place in and around this transitional neighborhood.

PO Box 1447    Brookfield, WI  53008-1447    (800) 642-6774

Get our email updates

Jim Olson, AIA, NCARB
Business Development Director—Southern Wisconsin Consolidated Construction Company

Get our email updates