Amy's Kitchen is poised to construct a 130,000-square-foot warehouse and freezer unit, the first significant expansion for the California organic frozen food maker since it opened a production facility in Whetstone Industrial Park five years ago.

WHITE CITY — Amy's Kitchen is poised to construct a 130,000-square-foot warehouse and freezer unit, the first significant expansion for the California organic frozen food maker since it opened a production facility in Whetstone Industrial Park five years ago.

Chief Operating Officer Scott Reed said the Petaluma, Calif.-based company is consolidating raw material and finished goods storage on the company's 50-acre site with an eye on efficiency. It also will allow the company to directly ship products by rail from its own campus, by adding a spur to the adjacent railroad.

The project costs are still being massaged, Reed said in an email interview. "(We) anticipate it will be in the high seven figures with an expected completion date near the end of (2011)."

Industry observers contacted by a reporter indicated such a project could easily top $10 million, including equipment.

Hansen-Rice of Nampa, Idaho, has been hired as general contractor.

It's been a year of growth for the family-owned business named for founders Andy and Rachel Berliner's daughter. The company's United Kingdom plant in Corby, England, was slated to go into production this spring, and earlier this month, plans for a third U.S. production facility were announced in Greenville, S.C., giving it closer proximity to 60 percent of customers in the East. The company said it expects sales to exceed $300 million during 2011.

The warehouse will jut away from the present plant, on the northern perimeter of the property bordered by the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad.

Amy's currently ships goods to the East Coast by both trucks and trailers piggybacking rail flat cars.

"We have the option of building a rail spur next to the warehouse expansion which would allow us to ship in boxcars as well," Reed said. "We plan to make a few test shipments in the near future to see if this is a viable option for us."

Amy's Kitchen has about 650 full-time employees at White City, but the project won't generate a lot of new hires, Reed said. "There may be a new position or two created but we plan on reassigning our existing staff."

The warehouse was part of the master plan.

Ted Zuk, a building official with Jackson County, said the company has been given the go-ahead to begin site work prior to the start of construction.

"My understanding is that they are pretty darn close to submitting the plans," Zuk said. "Once we have the plans in, it will probably take two or three weeks in the review process."

Greg Stiles is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4463 or email business@mailtribune.com.