Worth its Weight in Cold

Sean McDonnell – smcdonnell@cleveland.com

Cold-storage facility slated to open in October fills a major need in the area and a major space — 156,000 square feet — on Opportunity Corridor.

A much-anticipated cold-storage facility in Cleveland is almost ready to open, which would make it one of the first businesses to open on Opportunity Corridor since the road was finished in 2021.

The cold-storage facility is one of three major projects currently being built on Opportunity Corridor. Construction on a Meijer and 196-unit apartment building at East 105th Street and Cedar Avenue started in December 2021, and is also expected to open this year. The Cleveland Clinic also broke ground on its Innovation Square project between East 97th and East 105th streets.

The 156,000 square-foot cold-storage facility is run by Cleveland Cold Storage, a company under the Orlando Baking umbrella. Once finished, it will fill a major need for food manufacturing companies, said Nick Pacitti, head of sales for Cleveland Cold Storage.

Located at the southeast corner of Opportunity Corridor and East 75th Street, the project has been in the works since late 2021 when the city of Cleveland agreed to sell the land to Orlando Baking, which is on Grand Avenue just north of the new facility.

Construction started on the facility in June 2022, and Pacitti said it should be open in October. Weston is the developer on the project.

Cold storage space is so hard to find in Cleveland that Orlando rents space in Columbus, Pacitti said. He said the company currently sends a dozen trucks to Columbus each day.

“Needless to say that gets very, very pricey,” Pacitti said.

Economic development officials have said this new space could be a boon for local companies that need the space.

Orlando plans to use about one-third of the space, and to rent out the rest to other companies, Pacitti said. There are also plans to consolidate shipping.

He said with tenants often shipping products to the same stores, the idea is to share space on trucks as they head out. Pacitti said this could reduce transportation costs by 20% to 30%.

About 122,000 square feet of the building will be freezer space, kept at -10degrees Fahrenheit. Another 20,000 square feet will be kept at 34 degrees, about refrigerator temperature, and there will be another 10,000 square feet of dry storage space.

The new facility fills a huge need for Arlington Valley Farms, a Hudson company that makes Snack’N Waffles and S’Wiches — two frozen food products available in retail stores and served at schools across the country.

Chief Commercial Officer Eric Smith said his company is also renting cold storage space in Columbus because there weren’t any options in Cleveland.

Sending finished product to Opportunity Corridor instead of Central Ohio will be about a quarter of the cost, he said.

Smith said the company sends products to distribution centers across the country, but if it wants to send a full truck, the truck makes multiple stops. If Arlington Valley Farms and other companies can share trucks going out to distributors, it could yield huge savings.

“This was a bit of a no-brainer for us,” he said.

Peter Jacobsen invented Snack’n Waffles and sold the brand to J.M. Smucker Codecades ago. Arlington Valley Farms bought back the brand in 2019, Smith explained.

Since then, the company has grown quickly and its products are served to about three million school children each month for breakfast. He said the frozen waffles and sandwiches are also available in 3,000 stores.

He said the company might keep the Columbus space as it keeps growing but plans to transition to Cleveland Cold Storage for most of its cold-space needs.

The project has received incentives, including a $500,000 grant from Cuyahoga County, and a tax-increment financing agreement from the city of Cleveland worth about $2.2 million. The project also received a $2 million grant from JobsOhio.

Another new cold-storage facility is slated for Sheffield in Lorain County. Berkshire Refrigerated Warehousing plans to build a 200,000 square-foot facilityand received a tax credit from the state worth $545,000.

The Berkshire project is also getting a $500,000 grant from JobsOhio.