Related Fund Management (RFM) backed RealCold to Develop Cold Storage in Lockhart
By Lance Winter
Great San Marcos Partnership
F3 ColdCo Lockhart LLC, also referred to as RealCold, a major refrigerated warehouse and cold chain operator, will begin construction on a 302,400-square foot facility in Lockhart beginning next year. This announcement comes on the heels of the Lockhart City Council approving economic development incentives for F3 ColdCo Lockhart LCC at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The project plans are to build two state-of-the-art cold storage facilities as part of its platform launch. These initial facilities will anchor a network of new cold storage facilities through which RealCold will provide cold chain services to address a growing and underserved need within the sector, driven by material changes in food distribution and fulfillment.
“Our next generation facility will service six million people within 100 miles of Lockhart and become a gateway to fulfill refrigerated and frozen products across the southern United States,” said Keith Goldsmith, CEO of RealCold in a release. “When combined with RealCold’s unique service offerings, this will strengthen our strategic initiatives which are grounded in the underlying shift of consumer shopping habits toward e-commerce and grocery delivery.
“These trends, and the inability of existing providers to address them, served as the impetus for RealCold’s creation and entry into the cold chain sector over 18 months ago. We are developing a national cold storage platform that proactively anticipates and responds to changing consumer demands by offering direct-to-consumer fulfillment and other value-add services, robust technology integrations, and highly bespoke customer-centric engineering.”
Michael Winston, Partner and Managing Director at RFM, said RFM’s entrance into cold storage was based on its view that there is not enough cold storage in the US, and that much of the existing stock is older and in the wrong locations given population shifts over the last few years.
“We see this as an opportunity to combine our real estate capabilities with the operating capabilities of an experienced cold storage management team to build a network that spans the country,” Winston said. “Strategic locations like Lockhart, with proximity to major thoroughfares and rapidly growing metropolitan areas, are ideal locations for the first two nodes of this network.”
The new facilities, once completed, will not only cater to the increasing demands of RealCold’s customers, but will also provide over 100 high-quality job opportunities.
“Lockhart’s quality and availability of labor were crucial in RealCold’s site selection process,” Winston added. “Local support for the Lockhart project was voiced by County Judge Haden, who commented that Caldwell County is pleased to participate in the development of this project by sharing incentives.
Similarly, Mike Kamerlander with the Lockhart Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) expressed it is a great opportunity for the City of Lockhart and appreciates its partnership with Caldwell County and Greater San Marcos Partnership in helping attract and incentivize the development.
The company plans on having a Lockhart-based staff of 100-plus employees by year four, including 20-plus full-time staff and 80-plus hourly staff, over a two-shift/five-day per week operation.
While the total proposed site is approximately 53 acres, the company will operate on approximately 25 acres with the opportunity to expand by 50 percent. The excess land allows for additional buildable SF on which they may develop another cold storage facility or traditional “dry” industrial warehouses totaling 877,900 SF.
“I’m thrilled and appreciative of F3 ColdCo Lockhart, LLC’s commitment to our community. Their presence, even before breaking ground, signifies a promising partnership that will bring new opportunities to Lockhart,” said Lockhart Mayor Lew White. “The LEDC’s refreshed Target Industry Strategy serves as a cornerstone for the City’s next industrial park to entice projects from targeted industries, like F3 ColdCo Lockhart, LLC, to consider Lockhart for its next business venture.”
The company’s initial project phase is cold storage, which falls in line with the Food and Beverage Processing target, Mayor White explained.
“The additional square footage would be attractive for additional projects—supporting the ‘All Things Mega’ target,” he said.
Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden made similar remarks saying he was pleased to participate in the development.
“Caldwell County is pleased also to participate in the development of this project by sharing incentives.”
F3 ColdCo Lockhart LLC, is sponsored by Related Fund Management (RFM), found in 2009, RFM has established itself over more than a decade as a highly skilled and differentiated real estate investment manager with approximately $10.9 billion of assets under management. RFM has demonstrated a successful track record of investing across all portions of the real estate capital stack and in all major sectors.
When complete, the company value of the property will be estimated at $67.2 million in real property.
Established in 2022, RealCold was founded to address the unmet needs of the food cold chain sector. By combining high-growth strategic locations, state-of-the-art Class A facilities, and a diverse offering of value-added services, the company has positioned itself as a collaborative and integrated provider for food retailers, producers, and distributors. This mission is reinforced through its highly bespoke solutioning and customer-centric approach. The RealCold platform will ultimately operate a national, multi-channel network providing 1- or 2-day ground service for the majority of U.S consumers.
About Related Fund Management
Related Fund Management is a multi-strategy real estate private equity manager with approximately $12 billion of assets under management (as of 6/30/23). Founded in 2009, RFM has established itself over more than a decade as a highly skilled and differentiated real estate investment manager with a hands-on approach towards creating value at the asset level. Since inception, RFM has demonstrated a successful track record investing across all portions of the real estate capital stack and in all major sectors. RFM is affiliated with Related Companies (“Related”), a real estate development and operating business with extensive experience in the development, construction, and operation of real estate assets with a team of over 4,000 professionals and a portfolio of over $60 billion of assets owned or under development.