BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Walmart announced Tuesday plans to build a 1.2 million square-foot high-tech perishable distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries.

The new facility is set to open in 2027 and will deliver fresh produce, eggs, dairy, flowers, and frozen goods to nearby Walmart stores.

“The City of Belvidere is excited that Walmart has decided to invest in our community and build their 1.2 million sq. ft. distribution storage facility here,” said Belvidere Mayor Clint Morris. “Walmart’s investment supports our commitment to attract business development and job opportunity and represents a huge success for Belvidere in achieving both.”

Walmart says the automated systems to be put in use will enable the facility to move 2x more product than a traditional distribution center.

“Belvidere PDC associates will work with cutting-edge technology to stack boxes in a way that not only makes the job less physically demanding, but also avoids damaging products by placing fragile items like eggs at the top. It also maximizes space on trucks so that we can make fewer trips,” said Prathibha Rajashekhar, senior vice president of Innovation & Automation at Walmart U.S. “The end result is getting high quality grocery items like dairy and fresh produce onto our store shelves and in the hands of our customers faster than ever before.” 

Walmart said its high-tech facilities are part of a larger investment to use the technology in all 42 of its regional distribution and market fulfillment centers.

Walmart currently operates seven distribution centers, 184 retail stores and employs 57,800 associates in the state of Illinois.

The center will be built near south Appleton Road, near the idled Stellantis plant.