A developer is planning to add cold storage warehouse space on property near the Port of Wilmington.
Cold Summit Development looks to bring nearly 460,000 square feet of cold storage space in two buildings to property owned by the port off Raleigh Street, officials with N.C. Ports announced this week.
On Thursday, the N.C. Ports Authority board approved a 30-year lease agreement with the developer for nearly 35 acres on two lots. The lease is the result of a process that was started two years ago to draw interest in the Raleigh Street property for the development of cold storage opportunities, port officials said.
“This partnership represents continued investments in our strategy to become a leader in cold chain logistics,” said N.C. Ports Executive Director Brian Clark. “We are particularly excited that this announcement gives more options and capacity to North Carolina’s business, including agriculture, grocery sector and life sciences.”
Cold Summit was “the most desirable partner based on their plan and financial strength and our willingness to get the agreement done,” said Amy Passaretti, N.C. Ports communications manager.
The project includes two phases. In the first phase, Cold Summit plans to develop a 300,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse. The facility will have a multi-suite, multi-temperature building with three rooms and 40,000 to 50,000 pallet spaces with the ability to handle frozen or chilled products.
“This represents substantial progress to provide cold chain solutions to exporters and importers not only in North Carolina but the entire East Coast market,” said Bob Blackburn, director of refrigerated business development.
The developer has 15 months to begin construction on the first phase of the project. The first building is to be completed “no later than 25 months from now,” Passaretti said. The second phase “has the option to be 159,000 square feet,” in a second building on the property, she said.
Cold Summit is required to notify N.C. Ports on plans to proceed with the second phase of the project before they open the first phase, she said.
“N.C. Ports’ local traditional strengths include frozen and refrigerated exports, so we are bullish on the ability to attract more chilled imports like Dole. N.C. Ports has recently received cargo interest and ocean carriers mention the need for additional cold capacity, so this along with other announcements indicate an attractiveness of this market and gateway,” Passaretti said.
The next step is to go to the Council of State to approve and start a feasibility period, she said. Cold Summit will conduct surveys, analysis and studies for the development. N.C. Ports is partnering with the developer on marketing efforts to find tenants and users for the future cold storage warehouse.
“We are thrilled and humbled to be partnering with North Carolina Ports to bring a Cold Summit Development Cold Campus to the Port,” Scott Pertel, CEO of Cold Summit Development, said in a release. “Having graduated from New Hanover High School, I carry tremendous pride in bringing jobs, needed cold storage solutions and greater visibility to my former hometown of Wilmington. The Port has made significant capital contributions to bring this port on par with other leading Eastern Ports. With the delivery of our multi-functional cold storage campus, we look to facilitate additional growth of the import and export capabilities of the NC Ports.”
The financial partner for the development is PSP Partners, and Primus Builders will carry out the construction.
“This, in addition to other recent area announcements demonstrates that this area is an attractive market for cold chain logistics,” said Hans Bean, chief commercial officer for the ports. “Ideal ocean trade economics involve import/export balance. With North Carolina’s tremendous refrigerated export base, the ability to cater to more exports as well as significant import programs will further unlock the potential of cold chain logistics.”