ARLINGTON, TEXAS – August 28, 2014 – Since 1988 Chicken Express has been one of Texas’ favorite fried chicken restaurants. Beginning with two restaurants in Benbrook and Mineral Wells, Texas, the company grew steadily as word spread about its delicious fried chicken, catfish and iced tea. Today the company has 200 restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas and Louisiana. By 2013 the expansion to so many locations created a demand that the company’s existing distribution center could no longer meet.
“We had outgrown our facility,” said Ricky Stuart, co-owner of Chicken E Food Service and Chicken Express. “We looked at existing buildings but there was really nothing available with the specialized freezer and cooler facilities we needed. We realized that we would either have to completely build out an existing distribution center or construct a new one. Then the opportunity to become the first tenant in the Burleson’s new HighPoint Business Park came up. We were looking and Burleson wanted us as a tenant so we decided to build a new one from the ground up. We got very lucky with that.”
In 2013 Chicken Express chose Bob Moore Construction as the design build contractor and Alliance Architects in Dallas Texas as the architect for their new distribution center, and in July 2014 they moved into their exciting new 89,581 SF facility.
The new distribution center was constructed with a blend of tilt-up construction on three sides, and insulated metal panels for the fourth wall and interior partitions of the freezer and cold dock area. On the interior, the cold storage area is comprised of two freezers, a cooler and a cold storage dock. Temperatures are controlled through a Freon Refrigeration System that is managed through a web-based control panel, and the sub-freezing areas are wired with Protecto® wiring. Beneath the freezer floor is a glycol warming system. The floor itself was poured Ductilcrete®, a specialized type of concrete that is ideal for freezer areas. Other spaces in the facility include a dry goods area features nine loading docks and one forklift-ramp accessible door, and office space which will ultimately serve as the company’s corporate headquarters.
The building presented several challenges, resulting mostly from the fact that the business park had not yet been developed, according to Kyle Ware, Project Manager for Bob Moore Construction. “We discovered some unique aspects to the composition of the subgrade for example, but we worked through that successfully and now we can leverage that knowledge and experience on other buildings in the park,” said Mr. Ware. “We also worked closely with the Burleson EDC and the City of Burleson to bring in all the necessary water, sewer and gas lines to the park as the construction went on. The people in Burleson were terrific to work with; they truly were invaluable collaborators on this project.”
Mr. Ware is pleased with the completed facility. “We are excited to present this building as an example of our ability to create facilities with elaborate and technologically advanced cooler and freezer features,” said Mr. Ware. “This building, with its blend of tilt-up and insulated metal panel walls, freezer-focused wiring and technologies and Ductilecrete® flooring, is a remarkable example of what a modern cold storage facility should be. Ricky, Richard and Nancy Stuart and all the folks at Chicken Express were great to work with throughout the entire process, and we’re proud to be able to deliver this building for them.”
“The building turned out great,” said Mr. Stuart. “Our employees have adjusted to the new space and I think they’re all loving it. They’re used to working in such a confined space and there is so much more room to work now.”
Mr. Stuart was happy with his experience with Bob Moore Construction. “Working with Bob Moore Construction was great,” said Mr. Stuart. “We just opened our 200th store so we know how to build a 3,000 SF restaurant. But we didn’t know anything about building an 89,000 SF distribution center. We chose Bob Moore Construction because they had the experience with cold storage facilities. Kyle Ware was very professional as a project manager. He was extremely efficient and very easy to work with. Superintendent Ed Ronk did a great job, always explained things and kept things moving. We relied on Bob Moore Construction to take the ball and run with it, and that’s what they did.”