St. Louis developer to break ground on spec cold storage facility in Tampa market
July 08, 2022

By Ashley Gurbal Kritzer – Real Estate Editor, Tampa Bay Business Journal

Jul 7, 2022

One of St. Louis’ largest commercial real estate firms has assembled three parcels in the Tampa area where it plans to build a speculative cold storage facility.

Sansone Group, a Clayton-based, family-owned development firm, said Thursday it has partnered with Miami-based Mandich Group LLC to pursue the speculative construction of a 110,476-square-foot, temperature-controlled facility at the intersection of North 36th Street and East Third Avenue in Ybor City, Florida.

An entity linked to Sansone paid $3.275 million for the property, which is 7.27 acres, in early June, according to Hillsborough County, Florida, property records.

Mandich Group, a private equity real estate investment company, specializes in industrial and cold storage properties, with more than 2 million square feet of cold and dry storage assets under management.

The Ybor project is Sansone’s first industrial development in the Tampa area and first joint venture with Mandich Group. Eric Swanson, a South Florida-based principal with Avison Young, sourced the site for the developers. Indiana-base Tippmann Group will be the general contractor on the project.

Speculative development of cold storage facilities is not common — though it’s a bet more developers are willing to take in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The properties are highly specialized and expensive to build, making their speculative construction a potentially risky endeavor. But cold storage facilities have emerged as one of the hottest sectors of commercial real estate as the pandemic pushed online food and grocery shopping to record highs.

The U.S. also faces an aging inventory of cold storage properties; in 2020, the average of a cold storage warehouse was 42 years old, according to JLL.

“Sourcing a site in a dynamic infill location like downtown Tampa that has both port and highway access in proximity is nearly impossible,” Peter Crane, Sansone’s regional director of development and acquisitions for the Southeast, said in a statement. “The cold storage product we’re going to build here has never been in higher demand than it is now — it literally doesn’t exist today.”

Mandich Group and its subsidiary Cold-Link Logistics are on a mission to become the largest privately held owners of cold storage properties in the U.S.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Sansone Group on adding to our cold storage capabilities. We believe there’s a deep need for well-located, last mile-oriented cold storage facilities to meet future demands,” Michael Mandich, president of Mandich Group, said in a statement.

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