United Natural Foods Inc (UNFI), a national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods, plans to consolidate its four Denver-based distribution facilities into a new state-of-the-art, 535,000-square-foot facility at Gateway Park in Aurora CO. The new facility is expected to begin operations in summer 2013.

Situated near Interstate 70 in the Denver International Airport corridor, the facility will serve as a distribution hub for retailers in the Rocky Mountain region, as well as Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The facilities’ consolidation, all within Aurora, extends the company’s focus on enhancing efficiencies, improving productivity through “best in class” warehousing and inventory control systems, lowering operating costs in its distribution network, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The distribution facility will be leased from The Pauls Corporation.

No jobs are expected to be impacted in the transition. The new distribution facility is expected to open with 475 employees; increasing to 550 within the first three years based on current plans for increased capacity to meet demand.

The distribution facility will feature about 160,000 square feet of refrigeration and freezer space, including an expanded cold dock, and more than 42,000 square feet for employee offices and workspaces.

The company plans to pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for this distribution facility once operations start. LEED is a third-party certification program and a nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. It promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

For more information, visit www.unfi.com.