500K SQUARE FEET OF ALMOND COLD STORAGE COMING TO MADERA
Developers broke ground Tuesday on an almond cold storage facility in Madera open to all growers in hopes of alleviating price pressures on the nut. The owners hope the facility at 2842 N. Golden State Blvd. will be the first of many throughout the Central Valley. A project over seven years in the making, Amond World looks to open by the second quarter of 2023, said Robert Sullivan, managing partner for the company. The company name (“almond” without the “L”) links to a colloquialism of the word “almond” popular in the Central Valley — pronounced “am-end.”
The two 250,000-square-foot buildings are focused entirely on almonds. What separates this facility from others is that they will take almonds from any grower, according to Steve Sagouspe, managing partner along with Sullivan. The cold storage will allow almonds to be stored up to two years, meaning during times of plenty, growers can keep the nut in storage rather than bringing it to market. Each building will be able to store 50 million pounds of finished product. “I think farmers and processors are going to really enjoy the opportunity of being able to time their sale rather than having to get rid of it,” Sullivan said. With shipping disrupted as it is now, growers are having to sit on massive amounts of product, creating gluts in the market. Almonds this year have traded below $2 a pound, down from highs of $5 a pound a few years ago. Having access to cold storage means longer shelf life and more stable markets, Sagouspe said.
This also means the almonds don’t need to be fumigated for sanitary purposes. They will also be able to store certified organic almonds. Sullivan and Sagouspe contracted with Madera’s Span Development to build their ground-up development at the Madera Airport Industrial Park. Sullivan hopes to have the building up in the first half of 2023. The Amond World model allows for more growth in the Valley — anywhere almond grows, he added. They are currently scouting additional real estate near Chowchilla and Pixley.
The partnership with Span Development allows them to build several at a time. Part of the seven-year delay came with finding investors, said Sagouspe. They had courted suitors from other parts of the world, but they weren’t a good fit. They eventually found Adam Hayner from Los Angeles-based Origo Investments. The fit was good, he said. Coming from Washington originally and being involved in apple farming, Hayner knew about the importance of cold storage, Sagouspe said. Hayner said supporting the Central Valley is integral to supporting the food chain. The building would also be built with sustainable materials and powered by renewable energy, including solar panels and solar batteries. Sullivan hopes within five years to have 5 million square feet of cold storage online. Sullivan and Sagouspe were both previously real estate brokers with backgrounds in ag, but said Amond World is their new full-time job.