New Joliet facility promises ‘state-of-the-art’ cold storage

Business going in at Cherry Hill Business Park

Company officials with Northern Builders celebrate the groundbreaking for the incoming Agile Cold Storage facility on Thursday, June 20, in Joliet.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Joliet for a new cold-storage facility that is expected to employ between 80 and 100 workers.

The ceremony was held Thursday at the construction site for Agile Cold Storage, a company based in Georgia. The 203,000-square-foot, 70-foot-tall building will be located in the Cherry Hill Business Park in Joliet, just west of Gougar Road in New Lenox.

The facility is expected to be completed by April and meet the rising demand for food products stored at different temperatures.

“Our schedule is fast and furious. It’s a 12-month build,” said Matthew Grusecki, president of Northern Builders, a development and construction company founded in 1927.

Northern Builders has been working with Agile Cold Storage to develop the facility, which Grusecki said will have “state-of-the-art, fully convertible freezer and cooler systems.”

“What that means is they can accommodate a variety of different cold-storage customers within the same building,” Grusecki said.

Another cold-storage facility called Arcadia Cold Storage has been planned for development at the Joliet Logistics Park at Route 53 and Millsdale Road. That facility is expected to employ between 60 and 90 workers. Arcadia also is headquartered in Georgia.

A rendering of the incoming Agile Cold Storage Facility in Joliet provided by Northern Builders.

The growth of cold-storage facilities in Joliet is likely a reflection of the growth in the U.S. cold-storage market.

That market growth has been driven by rising demand from consumers for frozen and refrigerated food products, as well as the cold-storage needs of retail companies that sell those products, according to market research firm Precedence Research.

The firm reported that the U.S. cold storage market size was valued at about $44 billion in 2023, and it is expected to grow to $111 billion by 2033.

Joliet will be the first location for Agile Cold Storage in the Midwest, said Don Schoenl, the company’s president and CEO. Agile Cold Storage has locations in other states including Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana, according to the company’s website.

Don Schoenl, president and chief executive officer of Agile Cold Storage, speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Joliet facility on Thursday, June 20, in Joliet.

Schoenl said one of the reasons that Joliet was chosen was because of its infrastructure and roads. The facility will be south of Interstate 80, which connects to I-55 and I-57.

“We don’t have to get into downtown Chicago traffic, but also the connectivity to and from the largest inland port in North America,” Schoenl said.

Centerpoint Intermodal Center, located in Joliet and Elwood, is considered the largest inland port in the U.S. based on the amount of goods being loaded off trains onto trucks. The area includes the Union Pacific and BNSF Railway intermodal yards.

Schoenl said that Joliet also was chosen because the city has a “great workforce.”

“As you look around, you see a lot of warehouses. People in Joliet know how to do this type of job,” Schoenl said.

Construction site for the incoming Agile Cold Storage facility in Joliet.