A rendering of an 800,000-square-foot freezer and cooler warehouse project in Burleson, Texas, outside Fort Worth — Courtesy: Saxum Real Estate
By Joshua Burd
Saxum Real Estate is making a major push into the cold storage sector, as it looks to tap into demand for an underserved segment of the industrial market.
The Summit-based firm announced this week that it has launched a cold storage and industrial platform, highlighting three development projects among its newest activity. Most recently, Saxum and partner Yukon Ventures have closed and broken ground on a 22-acre cold storage development site in Burleson, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth, with plans calling for two phases totaling roughly 800,000 square feet of freezer and cooler warehouse space.
Premier Refrigerated Warehouse, a Texas-based operator, has signed a long-term lease for half of the roughly 400,000-square-foot first phase.
All told, Saxum has more than $100 million in capitalizations for cold storage projects in key logistic markets, the firm said. Earlier this quarter, it closed on two development opportunities for build-to-suit, single-tenant facilities in San Antonio, Texas, and Romulus, Michigan.
Both are within federally designated Opportunity Zones, qualifying them for additional tax benefits, according to a news release. Mucci Farms, one of the largest distributors of greenhouse vegetables in North America, will occupy the 120,000-square-foot portfolio under long-term leases, with future expansion opportunities.
Saxum noted that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the lack of supply of modern facilities that can adapt to an evolving market. The crisis has also shown inefficiencies and put downward pressure on the existing food supply chain, prompting distributors to respond quickly.
The ripple effect has caused a surge in demand for strategically located, modern cold storage facilities in gateway markets, Saxum said.
“Early on, Saxum recognized the fragmented and undersupplied cold storage investment space and through our vertically integrated platform we stand to serve the broader market by delivering institutional-quality cold storage investments,” said Anthony Rinaldi, Saxum’s managing principal. “These developments highlight the importance of the U.S. food supply chain and the growing demand for high quality freezer and cooler space.”