Karis Cold Storage Launches Specialized Nationwide Investment Platform with Initial Cold Storage Real Estate Investments in Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver

The company will develop and modernize supply chain facilities to meet the evolving needs of cold storage users. Expected customers including food, life sciences, and floral suppliers, as well as the third-party logistics companies who serve them.

Amid rising demand for cold storage logistics facilities, Karis Cold Storage (KCS) has launched a new national real estate investment and development company focused exclusively on cold storage. The company will invest in high-quality existing facilities and develop new state-of-the-art buildings that meet the needs of today’s cold storage users. Food, life sciences and floral suppliers, as well as the third-party logistics companies who serve them, struggle to find available space in modern buildings across North America. KCS plans to meet that need. In August, KCS will break ground on the development of a build-to-suit freezer and warehouse facility outside of Denver in Brighton, Colorado. Additionally, KCS has acquired an existing 42,000-square-foot freezer building in the heart of Chicago. The launch is rounded out with a new Class A, 234,775-square-foot, West Coast project that KCS will develop with a development partner.

The team is pursuing and executing on a variety of deal structures within the complex cold storage sector, including state-of-the-art new build-to-suit facilities, sale leasebacks, expansions and redevelopments of existing temperature-controlled facilities.

KCS was officially founded in July 2020 with the backing of a private equity capital firm, and the goal of creating a specialized investment platform within the industrial real estate sector.

Jake Finley, CEO of KCS, recently completed the acquisition and development of over $300 million worth of real estate with a focus on Class-A dry industrial buildings through a predecessor company: Karis Capital. Finley notes that “Many investment funds want to invest in the sector these days, but cold storage buildings are not generic like tilt-up industrial buildings and there is almost zero speculative development. Each user has unique needs that require adaptive facilities to meet those needs. Also, the technology that makes buildings efficient changes rapidly, so facilities can quickly become functionally obsolescent and not meet user needs if they’re not operated properly and upgraded regularly. These characteristics have led to a low to zero supply of cold storage with a massive rise in demand for food companies and distributors in virtually every U.S. market.”

Michael Smith, a former head of real estate and Chicago managing partner of the international law firm Baker McKenzie, joins KCS as President and Chief Operating Officer. According to Smith, “Our equity capital partners see the unmet needs of users in the cold storage industrial marketplace. At KCS, we have assembled a team with deep expertise in cold storage development and operations.”

One such member of the KCS team is Brian Niven, formerly with Bridge Development Company where he was responsible for the growth of the firm’s cold storage group.  Niven will serve as Chief Investment and Development Officer for KCS.  Before developing cold storage facilities, Niven helped J-Power build power plants.  Niven points out that “the energy consumption, complex mechanical and framing systems and ongoing maintenance needs of cold storage buildings make our projects similar in complexity to building small power plants.”  Niven, a former infantry officer in Afghanistan and Iraq, will also help KCS with reconnaissance, seeking out the best sites for ground-up development across the country.

About Karis Cold Storage

Karis Cold Storage (KCS) is a private investment and development company with expertise in the cold storage industry. Based in suburban Chicago, KCS invests in and develops properties across the U.S. with a platform covering the entire spectrum of cold storage development and investment including build-to-suit solutions, sale leaseback financing, and expansions and redevelopment of existing facilities.

For more information, visit www.kariscold.com.