Before Arizona was established as a state, early settlers planted citrus orchards across the region. The sun and soil provided a perfect combination for the fruits that became a substantial industry in Arizona’s early history. By the 1920’s, oranges, lemons, lime, tangerines, grapefruits, and mandarins were the bedrock of Arizona’s agricultural era. Groves of blossomed citrus led local farmers to form the Mesa Citrus Growers Association and build the plant. The factory officially opened in the 1930’s and valley growers began to sell their fruit under the Sunkist brand. For over 70 years, the factory packaged and processed citrus fruits, peaking in the 1995-1996 seasons. As cities across the state expanded, hard infrastructure steadily increased. Commercial and residential development soon replaced acres of citrus fields, dwindling the number of orchards. Eventually, crop prices no longer met the cost of production causing many groves to close. The Sunkist Warehouse was the last plant in Maricopa County. It officially closed its doors in 2010 and the building remained vacant until it was acquired in 2014.
The 70,000- square-foot warehouse, which sits on 7 acres of land, underwent renovation from 2014-2017. Today, the former citrus packaging plant houses business for five brands operating under the parent company, Autoline Industries, an innovative manufacturing, and distribution business. Despite the momentous redevelopment to the warehouse’s original blueprint, Autoline retained the historical character of the building. The remodel boasts modernized restoration with industrial elements throughout. The main event space is 7,000- square-feet and features original doghouse styled windows as well as large, picture windows providing an ample amount of natural light. Maintaining its historic charm, the space is highlighted by the original red brick walls pictured in most of our photos. The name ‘Sunkist’ survived, crediting its citrus roots, and is now an establishment for sweet new memories to be made. The warehouse hosts everything from wedding ceremonies and receptions to church services, photoshoots, car shows, corporate celebrations, birthday parties, and more! Due to the versatile nature of the Sunkist Warehouse, we offer several different packages and are open to customizing one for your special occasion!