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Company selects Albert Lea for new cold storage facility

Groundbreaking to begin in spring

JCW Development LLC, a nationwide real estate and property development company, announced Thursday Albert Lea has been selected as the future home for Vortex Cold Storage LLC.

Vortex Cold Storage will provide 170,000 square feet of state-of-the art temperature-controlled Safe Quality Food Certified (SQF) storage, with available temperatures ranging from 40 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a press release. The plant will be in the ALEDA Industrial Park, at East 14th Street and Margaretha Avenue.

The facility will also provide fully customizable warehouse services, including a secure gated yard and trailer storage.

“When the Vortex Cold Storage project was still just a concept, a team of experts came together to research sites, begin conceptual design and source local food companies to commit to the facility,” said Ben Westra, president of JCW Development, in the release. “The entire Vortex team is thankful for our new partnership with the state of Minnesota, city of Albert Lea, Albert Lea Economic Development Agency and Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, and for their collective help to bring this world-class facility into existence.”

The release stated interest has been strong from the regional food manufacturing and processing community, and securing tenants for the cold storage facility is underway.

Groundbreaking will occur in the spring with an estimated completion date of late 2021.

Vortex Cold Storage will ease the pressure in the southern Minnesota region on an aging and full-to-capacity frozen supply chain. Nearly 48% of existing cold storage facilities were built before 1980. Strategically located at the intersection of interstates 90 and 35, Vortex Cold Storage will apply state-of-the art technology and facility design to bring valuable storage capacity to the food businesses of southern Minnesota and Albert Lea.

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen said he is thrilled to announce this project and believes Albert Lea is well positioned to make this project a success.

“Working with Vortex Cold Storage and the JCW Development teams has been an absolute pleasure, and I am confident that we are not only getting a great new business but a community partner as well,” Rasmussen said.

He said the project would not have been possible without partnerships through the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency and Freeborn-Mower Cooperative.

Based on initial growth of up to 26 jobs and the vast project scope, the organizations offered several different incentives—including tax increment financing, tax abatement, as well as a land price reduction.

“This is yet another example in a year riddled with uncertainty, that Albert Lea is headed in the right direction and has strong leadership and partnerships in place to move the city forward,” the mayor said.