(March 2, 11:34 a.m.) After a speedy eight-month rebuild, Rio Queen Citrus Inc. is ready to move into its new office and packinghouse.

The Mission, Texas-based company lost its primary packinghouse to a fire June 11. It plans to have a grand opening for the new building March 7.

Rio Queen has been eagerly anticipating having the new facility, said Mike Martin, president.

“It’s coming together,” he said. “The building is done and much of the equipment is done.”

The previous building was about 130,000 square feet. The new one is about 150,000 square feet.

“The entire building is laid out more efficiently,” said Gretchen Kreidler, who handles marketing and public relations for the company. “The new offices are more modern and nicely arranged.”

Kreidler said the layout of the packinghouse is more efficient, uses less energy and will help cut down on labor costs.

Fully enclosed and air conditioned, the building includes new sizing equipment, automatic bin feeding systems on the final sizer and automatic palletizers at the packing tables.

The fire, caused by a welding accident, also destroyed all of Rio Queen’s packaging.

Kreidler said the company used the opportunity to implement new safety and traceability measures including GS1 Databar Price Look Up codes and GTIN-compliant carton labels.

Rio Queen owns and manages more than 5,000 of the 27,000 acres of Texas citrus.

Kreidler said about 70% of the fruit it harvests is from Rio Queen-owned acreage.