Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: August 11, 2021

Amid rising construction costs, Portland cold storage group targets fall groundbreaking

Rendering showing future warehouse facility with trees in the foreground File rendering / Courtesy CWS Architects and Woodard & Curran The planned cold storage facility is to be located on Portland’s waterfront.

The consortium behind a planned cold storage facility on Portland's waterfront aims to start construction this fall as the project's estimated price rises.

"Our goal is to be in the ground this fall," George Campbell, partner and advisory board chairman at Yarmouth-based Treadwell Franklin, said in a Tuesday phone interview.

Campbell is a former mayor of Portland and former transportation commissioner for Maine and New Hampshire.

The planned freezer warehouse, intended for use by industries from agriculture to seafood to biotech, was unanimously approved by the Portland Planning Board in October 2020 and did not require a full City Council vote.

Besides Treadwell Franklin, the group behind the plan includes Icelandic-owned shipping company Eimskip USA, U.K.-based Amber Infrastructure and Portland-based engineering firm Woodard & Curran.

The Eimskip-led group submitted its plan for the Maine International Cold Storage Facility in February 2020, less than two years after Americold abruptly called off its plan for a facility in June 2018. 

After getting bids in December for a contractor to build the structure, Campbell said the group is making progress albeit somewhat behind the original timeframe. 

Amid ongoing talks with a contractor, Campbell told Mainebiz the goal is to start construction this fall and that he's confident of being able to do so.

"It's a really good market, and a good time to be in that market," he said.

$40 million estimated price tag 

While underscoring that the project is "alive and well," Campbell lamented the rising costs of steel and other materials that now put the estimate building cost in the $40 million range, compared to a pre-pandemic estimate of $25 million to $38 million.

"The project is alive and well, but it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of pieces," he said. "We're as committed to the project as we were a year ago, as the market gets nothing but stronger in terms of the cold storage food chain supply."

Campbell also said the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Port Authority, which recently gave Interim Executive Director Matt Burns the authority to finalize the ground lease for the warehouse, have both been "fabulous" to work with, along with Eimskip, whose business at the International Marine Terminal continues to grow.

"All the pieces of the puzzle are there, and we're now working through it," he said. 

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF