Cold storage construction company Tippmann Innovation has completed a new meat processing and cold storage facility for Wolverine Packing Co. The 180,000-sq.-ft. warehouse provides Wolverine with its fifth processing plant and a second freezer with capacity to store 20,000 pallets.

The state-of-the-art warehouse expands the market district footprint to the north and sits on a reclaimed residential neighborhood, previously home to 32 housing structures buried underneath a deteriorating public park. As part of the brownfield contract with the City of Detroit, Wolverine provided funds to redevelop approximately four acres of the property into a revitalized park for families in the surrounding neighborhood. Wolverine Packing named Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Tippmann Innovation as its architect and design/build contractor.

“What made Tippmann Innovation unique was not only their experience building cold storage and processing facilities, but also their ability to complete the civil engineering and brownfield assessments while communicating with the state’s environmental department to ensure everything was up to code,” says Jay Bonahoom, Wolverine co-owner. “It was a huge asset to have a contractor with a complete understanding of brownfield laws and the experience to build a world-class facility.”

In 2016, Wolverine owners Jim and Jay Bonahoom reached out to Tippmann Innovation for help in designing and building a new facility. When given the option of building a new warehouse outside of Detroit, the Bonahooms decided to continue investing in the city they love and have been committed to for over 80 years. The family-owned company began as a lamb and veal packer in Detroit’s historic market district in 1937. Since then they’ve grown into one of the nation’s largest full-faceted protein distribution companies. Today they produce ground beef, value-added meat products, and fresh lamb and veal. Wolverine Packing now serves customers in all 50 states and in many countries around the world. 

Projects like Wolverine Packing Co. are big wins for not only company owners, but also the communities in which they reside. New cold storage and processing facilities is a sign of long-term economic growth as their tenants typically agree to leases extending 15-20 years. Wolverine’s new plant brings in new jobs and a revitalized neighborhood park, both signs of new life coming back to the east side.