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The Journal Gazette

Cold storage hub heating up

$28 million Woodburn warehouse means 75 new jobs

A refrigeration storage company hopes to find more than a few cool customers as it looks to invest $28.1 million by 2017.

North American Cold Storage Inc. will build a 96,000-square-foot public refrigerated warehouse at 23202 Roemer Drive in Woodburn. The company anticipates servicing various food manufacturers that lack facilities to store their products.

Officials hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Friday. North American Cold Storage expects to have the first of two phases completed by October, which is when it will open for business.

The first phase will cost $12.1 million. Tax breaks and other incentives total about $3 million from the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Northeast Indiana Works and the city of Woodburn. The company said it will create 75 jobs, most averaging $12 to $17 an hour. An operations manager position will pay $90,000 a year.

Scott Parker is a partner with North American Cold Storage. He said initial planning of the company took about a year, as he and partner Ed McCarthy worked to secure financing, find a location and address related matters.

“We want to be a central location for food manufacturers who need our services,” Parker said. “We feel we have a strong business (model). We will offer top-of-the-line refrigerated storage. Instead of driving hundreds of miles away to drop off their products, we’ll be closer” to companies doing business in northeast Indiana.

North American’s new facility will have an advanced warehouse management system, featuring radio-frequency barcode scanning, electronic data interchange and energy management components. In a filing late last year with the Allen County Department of Planning Services, the company said it would initially invest $672,300 on manufacturing and information technology equipment.

“The city of Woodburn is pleased to have one of the tallest cold storage facilities in its backyard,” Woodburn Mayor Richard Hoeppner said, referring to the building’s projected 52-foot height.

“We look forward to the promotion and growth North American Cold Storage will bring to Woodburn,” he said.

Parker wants to do just that, he said.

“We are very pleased with the attention we’ve received from the state of Indiana and the city of Woodburn during our buying process,” he said. “With the new Highway 24, it’s not only the perfect location for exposure but it also allows us the possibilities to expand even more.”