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Cold storage planned for Tampa port

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  • | 11:00 a.m. September 11, 2015
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Tampa Bay–Lakeland
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LANDLORD: Port Tampa Bay board
GROUND LEASE TENANT: Port Logistics Tampa Bay I Inc.
PROPERTY: a portion of Port of Tampa Bay, 1101 Channelside Drive, Tampa along Berth 219
TERM: 27 years
PRICE: $0 (first four months), $171,250 per year (first 12 months of development), $342,500 per year (first operating year), prior years rent plus CPI (the remainder of the initial term)

Port Tampa Bay expects to be back in the refrigerated food storage business soon. The port, with a master plan that's called for a food distribution facility for several years, signed a deal with an Orlando business to operate a 130,000-square-foot cold storage food products facility the port plans to build next year.

The new $19.1 million facility will receive, label, package and distribute perishable goods, fruits, vegetables, pharmaceuticals and other products that require refrigeration.

The future operator Port Logistics Tampa Bay I Inc. is the creation of George Livingston, a developer who also founded and is a principal in the commercial real estate brokerage NAI Realvest; Hong Kong investment banker Allen Huie; former Sumter County Economic Development Coordinator Matthew Walsh; and G. Richard Hostetter, an attorney and president of several companies. The partners all work together on Orlando EB5 Investments, an investment vehicle for foreigners that also provides funding to developers and others.

The port has wanted to get into cold storage to tap into the large foreign food shipping business that mostly bypasses the state and much of the East Coast in favor of facilities in Philadelphia.

Under the ground lease agreement, Port Logistics receives a 27-year ground lease for 13.7 acres along Berth 219 on Hookers Point with two additional options after the initial term. The port will pay up to $14.6 million to construct the building and utilities though a construction management agreement with West Point, Ga.-based Batson-Cook Co. Port Logistics is responsible for developing the building's refrigeration system and a specialized racking system. Along with rent for the ground lease, the firm also agreed to pay the port back for the
debt service on its building construction loan.

Port Logistics, which is responsible for owning and operating the facility, plans for Canton Port Services LLC, a Baltimore-based dock and terminal operator, to serve as the third-party operator.

The site will also include office space for truckers and regulators and areas with electrical hookups for up to 48 temperature-controlled storage containers outside the building. It is expected employ about 50 people.

Port Logistics expects to handle 400,000 pallets from about 100 vessels in its first year.

Following approval of the lease, the four partners are now looking to Tim Moody of Moody Capital Solutions Inc. in the Atlanta area to raise about $7 million in venture investment for the project from institutional investors.

Both the port and the facility operator hope the new building will just be the start of refrigerated storage at the port.

“The size of the building was driven by the first year's traffic we thought we could attract,” Livingston says. “We do believe it will be more successful than that and that we will start a second building or some other solution.”

Construction of the building is expected to take 11 months.


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