The Herald News, Wednesday, December 11, 2013 – Page B1

Fall River – Eastern Ice Co. wants to build a really big freezer for Bristol County.

The company, at 281 Commerce Drive in the Fall River Industrial Park, will ask the Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday for permission to build a 25,000-square-foot cold storage facility next to its ice-making plant.

“It will be a big freezer, basically,” said Craig Rossi, a vice president of the company and the fifth generation from his family to be in the ice business.

“It will be a third-party storage facility. We’ll see who wants to keep product in a cold storage. We will have room for 2,500 pallets.”

The company proposed building the cold storage next to its existing plant, built in 2007 when Eastern Ice moved from Newport, R.I., to Fall River.

The plant can produce 40,000 five-pound bags of ice a day, company officials said.

The new plant will represent a diversification from the company’s product line of ice, Rossi said.

“We would let people rent space, store their product and move it as they need it,” Rossi said. “It will create a couple of new jobs to run the facility.

“We saw a need out there for cold storage. It seemed the next logical step in the progression of our business.”

Juice companies, grocery chains and food makers all have need for cold storage, Rossi said.

Eastern Ice currently has 3,000 square feet of cold storage, all of it used to store ice that goes out to 2,000 accounts, Rossi said.

The company is asking the zoning board to waive dimensional requirements to allow them to site the new building right next to the existing building on its 5.6-acre lot.

The zoning meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the committee room on the first floor of Government Center.

It is one of three expansion projects either on the books or underway in the Industrial Park, said Kenneth Fiola, executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, which markets the park.

Matouk Linen Co. is completing an expansion, Atlantic Lighting is starting an expansion and Eastern Ice wants to start work, Fiola said.

“As soon as the city gives us the OK to start, we will go,” Rossi said. “We are ready to start work right now.”

Email Kevin P. O’Connor at koconnor@heraldnews.com