Cold Storage Facility At Port Of Wilmington Expanding Before Its Built

The cold storage facility slated for construction at the Port of Wilmington is growing in size as officials eye expanding the amount of agriculture products moving through the port.

Chuck Schoninger, managing member of USA InvestCO, said the cold storage blueprint has expanded from 75,000 to 102,000 square feet.

The project is expected to cost $14.5 million, and is being largely financed by a program known as the Immigrant Investor Program, or "EB-5." That program was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

So far, Schoninger said, he's raised about $10 million in "EB-5" investments. Additionally, the project was approved recently for an $800,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, a nonprofit created by the General Assembly in 1999, administers a portion of the state's share of tobacco settlement funds for the purposes of economic development.

Schoninger expects USA InvestCO to break ground on the facility in May, a little later than previously expected, and have it operational by next January.

The location of a cold storage facility should increase the amount of home-grown agriculture products moving through the port, he said.

"The biggest reason why there's not more product being shipped out of North Carolina is there's not a facility," Schoninger said. "We'll need the container shipping companies to start using our space to be able to ship this product. That will come with demand. The more containers that deliver them the more stops they'll make to the Port of Wilmington." 

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