Texas Ranks Among Top Cold-Storage Markets According To New Report

Texas Ranks Among Top Cold-Storage Markets According To New Report

Cold-Storage Expansion Most Likely in Gateway Markets and in Leading States for Food Production, Including Texas, California, Washington, Florida

Austin, TX Population increases, expanded growth zones and the growth of online grocery sales has the U.S. market for cold-storage warehouses poised for strong growth, potentially creating demand for up to 100 million sq. ft. of cold-storage space over the next five years, according to a new report from CBRE.

Texas has the fourth highest inventory of cold-storage in the U.S. with 231.4 million cubic feet of space and experts predict the demand for cold-storage in the area will continue to grow.

The demand in Texas can be attributed to multiple factors, including explosive population growth coupled with a strong economy and a consumption zone that covers a large geographic area.

The cold-storage space in Dallas, along with Houston, serves the entire state of Texas in addition to bordering states such as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

According to David Sours, Senior Vice President, CBRE Food Facilities Group, the growth of cold-storage in the last year is unprecedented.

“In Texas, we saw more pallet positions added to capacity in the last year than we’ve ever seen in recent history,” Sours said. “This tracks back to population growth as well as more investment in material handling technologies for automation purposes.”

Historically there has been a shortage of existing cold-storage facilities nationally due to high replacement costs of technologies in addition to the critical nature of the facilities.

While markets across the country continue to keep up with demand for cold-storage, experts predict several different factors will influence the cold-storage and food industry as a whole.

“The cold-storage sector and broader food industry continue to evolve nationally due to a variety of factors including changing consumer dietary and delivery preferences, growth in the frozen food sector, evolving technologies, population changes, and freight costs, among other drivers,” said Lucy Durbin, Vice President, CBRE Food Facilities Group.

The forecast of 100 million sq. ft. of cold-storage space stems from a projection by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen that groceries ordered online will account for 13% of total grocery sales by 2022, up from 3 percent in 2018. Such growth would amount to an additional $100 billion in annual grocery sales conducted online.

Click here to view an interactive map of consumers’ likelihood to buy groceries online across the U.S.

This outlook portends significant changes for the cold-storage industry, which at 3.6 billion cubic feet currently accounts for a tiny portion of U.S. industrial-and-logistics real estate overall.

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

Leading States For Cold-Storage Space

State Million cubic feet State Million cubic feet
1. California 396.5 6. Pennsylvania 213.5
2. Washington 271.3 7. Illinois 188.0
3. Florida 259.4 8. Georgia 183.5
4. Texas 231.4 9. Oregon 139.6
5. Wisconsin 228.1 10. New Jersey 136.7


The challenges of constructing and modernizing cold-storage facilities to keep up with the strong growth of online grocery sales has driven consolidation in the industry as firms seek to gain economies of scale, according to CBRE. Four companies control 73.4 percent of the refrigerated warehouse space in North America.

CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services.

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