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Cold Storage Developer Sets Near-port Facility Completion Date

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Apr 24, 2024
Cold Summit Development expects to complete its near-port cold storage facility in September. (Photo courtesy of Cold Summit Development)
Cold Summit Development founder and CEO Scott Pertel gave an update on the company's cold storage facility near the Port of Wilmington last week after delaying the expected completion date by a year.

The facility is expected to be complete on Sept. 23, said Brian Clark, N.C. Ports executive director, in his opening statement at this year's Cold Chain Summit.

The expected 460,000-square-foot facility was initially due to be completed last September per a 2021 agreement between Cold Summit Development and the N.C. State Ports Authority.

The original agreement stated the first building had to be completed “no later than 25 months” from when the agreement was signed, an N.C. Ports spokesperson told the Business Journal in August 2021.

An amendment to that agreement was signed in March that extended the deadline to December 31, 2024, Elly Cosgrove, N.C. Ports communications manager, told the Business Journal Wednesday. 

Cold Summit Development did not respond to requests for additional comment by press time. 

As Cold Summit Development nears the completion of phase one of the project, the 300,000 square feet of storage space is expected to serve the cold supply chain. The Port of Wilmington, about a mile away from Cold Summit Development’s facility, has made a host of investments in its cold supply chain infrastructure in recent years. N.C. Ports also owns the land Cold Summit Development’s project is on.

Phase two of the project will involve a 160,000-square-foot extension of the development.

Pertel is a Wilmington native, but his company is based in Idaho. At this year's Cold Chain Summit,  Pertel sat on a panel of developers who had made investments in the Wilmington area related to the port.

On his panel, he said he had taken away from conversations with Brian Clark and other N.C. Ports officials that they needed more capacity for cold storage near the port. But most of the time it is unclear how much space an importer is going to need and what temperature they are going to need to store their product.

That is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to spending an approximate $145 million on a storage facility, based on 2022 plans. Pertel said his team needed to come up with a solution to be able to accommodate the cold storage needs of the Port of Wilmington while providing a customizable experience for the tenant, he said.

“We deliver it in a way that can be broken up into multiple suites,” Pertel said. “[Each suite will be] 75,000 square feet, and even those can be broken up even smaller.”

The facility’s flexibility in temperature spans from negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit to 57 degrees Fahrenheit. The building will be able to accommodate fresh produce and frozen goods and can blast freeze goods, Pertel said. This ability to pivot what can be stored in the facility helps the company keep up with changing consumer demand, which is almost impossible to predict more than seven to 10 years in advance, Pertel said.

It also allows his team to shift the kinds of products stored at the facility as different products come in and out of season, Pertel said.

“We try to provide as wide of a canvas as possible for as many users as possible,” Pertel said. “The risk we take is just in building it.”
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