Online grocery sales drives demand for cold storage space

BY Al Urbanski

Few sectors of commercial real estate are likely to undergo as much transformation in coming years as cold-storage warehouses, according to CBRE’s Matthew Walaszek.

The rampant growth of online grocery sales has created demand for up to 100 million more square feet of industrial cold storage space in the coming five years, according to a new CBRE report. The sector current occupies just 214 sq. ft., which adds up to 3.6 billion cubic feet of storage.

“We will see robust demand, further innovation in delivery and automation, and possibly more consolidation among major players due to e-commerce’s impact on this previously under-penetrated market,” said Walaszek, associate director of industrial and logistics research at the global real estate firm.

Much of the cold-storage sector’s growth is likely to occur in gateway markets like Los Angeles and New York, as well as in top food-production states like California, Washington, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin.

California and Washington lead the nation with 396 million sq. ft. and 271 million sq. ft. of cold storage space, respectively.

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