Project Description

Wilco + Hazelnut Growers of Oregon

Size: 250,000 SF  |  Location: Donald, OR  |  Client: Wilco and Hazelnut Growers of Oregon

In the same way the VLMK is known for industrial design and development, Oregon State is known for their hazelnuts, or as some would say “filberts”. Over 99 percent of the hazelnuts grown in the United States are produced right here in the Willamette Valley and about 70 percent of those Oregon nuts will be shipped to China where they are a popular treat roasted in the shell. Thanks to brands like Nutella, the delicious hazelnut cocoa spread, the hazelnut is more popular than ever before in Europe and the US.

Hazelnut Growers of Oregon (HGO) represents more than 150 growers who collectively own more than 10,000 acres of prime hazelnut orchards. A division in HGO, Westnut, is the largest processor and marketer of hazelnuts in North America. Their customers include food service supply companies, confectionaries, snack food makers and bakers across the world.

As the market for hazelnuts grew, HGO merged with Wilco, a farmer owned cooperative headquartered in the rural town of Mt. Angel in Oregon, and the search for a new site for both organizations began. VLMK worked with HGO and Wilco to identify suitable industrial sites that could address the challenges their growers faced, like the long and traffic congested commute to Cornelius, Oregon where HGO is currently located. Their goal was to find a site in the heart of the farmland where their nuts were grown, but also be able to process the nuts in a state-of-the-art industrial facility. Since most of the hazelnut farmers in Oregon are in the Willamette Valley, a site in Donald, Oregon stood out as a central location for HGO and Wilco’s new offices, processing facility, distribution center and a small retail storefront. The building will be 250,000 square feet and will feature manufacturing processes, as well as product storage and the new Wilco distribution center.