Built to Last: A Worldwide Distributor
The rehabilitation of the Valley Fruit Company was recently approved by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) and certified by the National Park Service (NPS) under the 20 percent rehabilitation tax credit program.
Located in Pharr (Hidalgo County), the Valley Fruit Company was built in stages from 1948–1972 as a fruit and vegetable processing and packaging facility. At its height, the Valley Fruit Company was the largest distributor of grapefruit in the world, and after the complex was expanded to include vegetable packaging, it became one of the largest agricultural packing facilities under one roof.
Valley Fruit Company is composed of nine interconnected buildings and a few outbuildings in an industrial aesthetic of brick walls and steel casement windows. The sprawling front façade is dominated by truck bays and neon signage, all of which were in dire condition before work began. Long vacant, the complex was heavily vandalized with broken windows and extensive graffiti, and it suffered a good deal of weathering and neglect.
Back in Business with New Purpose
The Valley Fruit Company now serves as headquarters for the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley. This remarkable owner undertook a sensitive rehabilitation project that brought the complex back to life while retaining the features that make it so unique. Considerable attention was paid to removing graffiti without damaging the brick walls, and all of the steel casement windows and neon signs were restored.
In order to gain more usable square footage, most of the front loading bays were in-filled with dark glazing that gives a sense of the voids that historically existed in this area. Canopies were rebuilt where deteriorated beyond repair, and structurally unsound outbuildings were demolished with our approval. The interiors, mostly large, open areas with lamella truss ceilings, are now filled with light and used in much the same way as they were historically. Some of the large industrial machinery was even retained, and the office is now welcoming with its restored finishes and knotty pine wainscoting. We could not be more pleased with this successful rehabilitation tax credit project.
Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives
This program is one of the nation’s most successful and cost-effective community revitalization programs. The 20 percent tax credit is available for certified rehabilitations on income-producing buildings that are listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register. Any work undertaken on the building as part of this program must comply with the Standards for Rehabilitation, and will be reviewed by the THC and NPS. For more information, please visit the National Park Service website or call the THC’s Division of Architecture at 512.463.6094.