Earlier this year, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation provided $3.4 million in NMTC financing to Vortex Cold Storage to develop a state-of-the-art temperature-controlled warehousing to support Agribusiness and Food Distribution business supply chains in the Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa regions. The project held a groundbreaking ceremony last week in Albert Lea, MN.
“Vortex Cold Storage was born with a need to ease pressure in the southern Minnesota area for last-mile delivery centers and improve its aging frozen supply chain,” said company co-founder Tom Brust at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Albert Lea offers easy access to interstates 90 and 35 and allows us to address the full-to-capacity frozen supply chain in the region. We’re proud to call Albert Lea our new home and, by doing so, provide a state-of-the-art cold storage solution for the food industry.”
Meeting a Regional Need
Currently the Minnesota marketplace is suffering from both a high concentration (limited number of players) and limited capacity of temperature-controlled warehousing. This environment limits regional agribusiness by suppressing adequate competition within the storage marketplace and limiting the space available for businesses to expand their inventories to support sales growth or changes in market conditions.
To allow these businesses access to this critical supply-chain infrastructure, Midwest Cold Storage is developing a 161,000 sq. ft., new temperature-controlled storage capacity in Albert Lea, MN. The facility will support frozen storage as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as refrigerated storage and have the safety, quality, and technological capabilities to meet the needs of modern Agribusiness. There is tremendous, immediate, demand for this type of facility and capacity is expected to be nearly fully committed by regional food business before and during facility construction.
“When the Vortex Cold Storage project was still just a concept, a team of experts came together to research sites, begin conceptual design, and source local food companies to commit to the facility,” explained Ben Westra, president of JCW Development. “The entire Vortex team is thankful for our new partnership with the State of Minnesota, Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services, City of Albert Lea, and Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, and for their collective help to bring this world-class facility into existence.”
Vortex Cold Storage is investing over $30 million into the project and will create up to 26 jobs.
Interest has been strong from the regional food manufacturing and processing community, and securing tenants for the cold storage facility is underway.