When the state’s official motto is the Crossroads of America, it stands to reason its capital city would be a logistics and cold storage hub.

The 11-county Indianapolis metro area is home to more than two million people. More than half the country lives within a 650-mile drive, making it an ideal location for frozen and refrigerated storage.

Netherlands-based NewCold is preparing to open a large-scale automated cold store facility just outside Indy, the biggest of its kind in the state. Currently under construction, the 400,000-square-foot facility will hold over 100,000 pallet positions and create upward of 150 jobs. With portions of the building climbing as high as 150 feet, the $150 million project is of the largest cold storages in the U.S.

“Indianapolis is one of the key locations to have this massive consolidation point to supply customers in the Midwest. That’s not saying it’s the perfect location for everybody – but in general for many large food companies, Indianapolis is an ideal hub,” said Jonas Swarttou, vice president of customer and business development for NewCold North America.

The Indianapolis cold storage facility will use state-of-the-art technology including automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) to move and store products in the “dark” high-bay warehouse. To serve the high volume of case picking, an advanced automated case picking solution for detailed order fulfilment activities is part of the investment. The equipment and operators will be directed by NewCold's proprietary advanced software systems, while products are kept in optimal conditions with all cold store areas cooled down to sub-zero temperatures. This advanced cold chain solution ensures that processes are sustainable and traceable.

Interstate Warehousing's Anderson, Indiana facility
Opened in 2019, Interstate Warehousing's Anderson, Indiana facility is already expanding. Image courtesy of Tippman Group/Interstate Warehousing.

“All the flows of pallets being unloaded and loaded are completely automated and all the case picking activities are fully automated,” Swarttou said. “We also spent a lot of time making sure our warehouse supports the entire supply chain, using the latest software connecting our own logistics systems with those of others – making sure downtime for trucking companies are minimal.”

The project marks an expanded relationship with Conagra Brands.

“At Conagra Brands, we're modernizing our distribution network infrastructure as part of our overall supply chain strategy,” said Craig Weiss, SVP of supply chain and chief transformation officer. “We're partnering with NewCold to develop a new, state-of-the-art distribution center that will support our growing frozen business so we can better meet the needs of our customers and consumers.”

The NewCold project joins more than a dozen other food-related companies in Boone County, Indiana, an industry specifically targeted by the county’s economic development corporation.

Located off Interstate 65 about 30 minutes northwest of Indianapolis, the county has an agriculture heritage, with farmers growing everything from Christmas trees to corn, according to Chassity Neckers, director of marketing and communications for the Boone County EDC.

IWI Anderson interior
Nearly half of the U.S. population is within a one-day drive of the Indianapolis MSA. Image courtesy of Tippmann Group/Interstate Warehousing.

Last summer, Lineage Logistics acquired Hanson Logistics and its seven distribution facilities, spanning over 46 million cubic feet of capacity across Michigan and Indiana.

In mid-2019, United States Cold Storage opened a 5.1 million-cubic-foot freezer addition at its warehouse in Lebanon, including an ASRS.

That same year, Interstate Warehousing opened a cold storage facility in Anderson, Indiana. The company is already expanding: late last year Interstate broke ground on a 148,000-square-feet addition – room for 24,000 more pallet positions and increased frozen and refrigerated capacity.

NewCold North America
With portions of the building climbing as high as 150 feet, the $150 million project is of the largest cold storages in the U.S. Image courtesy of NewCold North America.

“Interstate Warehousing has been operating in the Indianapolis market since we opened our first facility in Stout Field Industrial Park in 1983. Since that time, we have designed, built and are currently operating three facilities that equal just over 2-million square feet of temperature-controlled space in the Indianapolis area,” said John Tippmann, III, vice president of sales strategy for the Tippmann Group/Interstate Warehousing. “Due to the increasing demand, we have strategically purchased, and site prepped two properties for an additional 1.2-million square feet of ready-to-build temp controlled space, helping Interstate Warehousing pave the way for future business. Indianapolis has always been a great market for us because of its proximity to major cities. With nearly 50% of the U.S. population being within a one-day drive, it makes it a great central hub for distribution.”