NAIOP I.CON: Accelerating Trends in Cold Storage

A recent CBRE forecast estimated an additional 75 to 100 million square feet of industrial freezer/cooler space will be needed to meet demand in the next five years. During NAIOP I.CON Virtual 2020 , panelists in the “Accelerating Trends in Cold Storage” session delved deep into the drivers affecting the future of cold storage. Kate Lyle, Ware Malcomb’s Senior Project Architect and cold ready specialist, joined the panel of cold and temperature-controlled industry experts moderated by Cory Singer of FCL Builders with speakers Carmen Dodaro of FCL Builders, Scott Pertel of Cold Summit Development, and David Sours of CBRE.

Key takeaways:

  1. Broad Spectrum Within Cold Storage Category – Cold does not necessarily mean food – increased demand is driven by other markets, including medical. There is further end user segmentation within the cold storage category: raw materials, food processing, and import/export.
  2. Evolving Consumer Habits are Leading to Increased Demand – The shift to more organic and sustainable foods and eating habits have increased demand for cold storage.
  3. Greater Shift to Domestic Production – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we may see more onshoring of foods that were previously imported. The increase in domestic production will increase the need for cold storage facilities throughout the supply chain.
  4. Automation Solves New Production Challenges – The increased demand for onshoring and domestic production raises further cost challenges that companies can help mitigate through automation.
  5. Cold Storage is Still Capital-Intensive – Despite innovative supply chain drivers such as automation and picked storage, the expenditures for a cold storage facility are still significant. Refrigeration systems, fire sprinkler systems, and utilities cost must all be intensely scrutinized.
  6. Design Decision from the Onset is Crucial – Due to the complexity involved, the end user must decide from the onset whether to build with cold storage in mind. It is not cost-effective to convert to a cold building later. Having a design team involved at the start of a project will help facilitate speed to market down the line.

Prior to COVID-19, cold storage demand was already on the rise and will continue to increase due to its beneficial application across industries. Our team of experts are at the forefront of the design evolution of cold storage facilities, continually challenging norms, and innovating new processes to serve our clients.

Check out NAIOP’s recap of the Cold Storage Panel, as well as our vast portfolio of industrial projects: