An architect’s rendering shows the 120,000-square-foot cold storage facility being constructed next to the International Marine Terminal in Portland. The project broke ground in August 2022 and is expected to be finished in the second quarter of 2024. Once completed, it is expected to grow Maine business and international trade. Dave Cleaveland/Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure

A year after breaking ground, construction is finally progressing on a gigantic refrigerated warehouse on Portland’s waterfront.

Crews began driving piles this summer and project officials anticipate pouring concrete for the foundation next week.

Tom O’Shaughnessy, co-founder of developers Amber Infrastructure, said they’re keen to open the facility. Previously slated to open in February, the project is now anticipated to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

O’Shaughnessy said that despite breaking ground in August 2022, the project was wrapped up in design and permitting throughout the winter and spring, so construction didn’t begin in earnest until late June.

But now that everything is squared away, work is moving ahead as planned, bar a few minor delays caused by underground obstructions at the site, he said.

Once the foundation is poured, progress should be more visible.

Advertisement

“From here on it will go up pretty quickly,” he said.

Delays are nothing new for the cold storage facility, which has been in the works for nearly eight years but was plagued by fits and starts and opposition from local residents.

Plans for the warehouse were approved by the Portland Planning Board nearly three years ago. The building price has grown from $30 million to $55 million.

The 107,000-square-foot, 55-foot-tall building on Commercial Street has been touted as critical to expanding freight through Portland and giving Maine food and beverage companies a competitive edge and access to markets.

The new facility is expected to meet the refrigerated cargo demand of Icelandic shipping company Eimskip and be large enough to accommodate customers from Maine as well. 

There’s almost $2 billion in frozen seafood that is exported from the Eastern Seaboard that doesn’t pass through Portland, according to Wade Merritt, president of the Maine International Trade Center.

Merritt said during a panel presentation hosted by the Camden Conference last year that he hopes the cold storage facility will allow Maine to capture some of that market.

In 2021, the state exported about $3 billion in goods.

The warehouse is a public-private partnership between the port authority and Amber Infrastructure, an international company with headquarters in London, and Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure, a financing company based in Yarmouth. The state contributed $8 million to the project, money dedicated to preparing the property for building.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.