If you soon start feeling a blast of cold air blowing through Charleston, it’s probably a result of the expansion of the refrigerated commercial cargo business in the area. Three firms (Agro Merchants, Lineage Logistics, and New Orleans Cold Storage) have invested in or are expanding their cold storage capabilities to meet the increasing worldwide demands for more protein. As standards of living rise around the globe, people demand better quality food and refrigeration is a key component. Charleston Industrial was instrumental in the land sale transaction on Palmetto Commerce Park for Millard Refrigerated Services which later was purchased by Lineage Logistics.
Refrigerated warehouse space is limited in the Charleston industrial region and efforts are underway to increase the capacity. The State Ports Authority (SPA) has been very proactive in bolstering the cold storage commercial market share in this ultra-competitive business. The State Ports Authority will spend $2 million more than originally planned to nearly triple the size of a cold-storage warehouse in North Charleston. In May the SPA agreed to spend a maximum of $12 million on the commercial real estate project but has increased its expenditure due to construction costs of this 150,000 square foot facility.
Investments to upgrade the infrastructure at the cargo terminals have been underway for years and chilled warehouse space is essential to this pursuit. The Savannah and Port Everglades, FL ports now dominate the Southeast refrigerated commercial real estate market, however SPA officials are intent on boosting its export/import handling of containers as evidenced by this recent announcement.