International Plaza developer Richard Corbett to finance new cold storage facility at Port Tampa Bay

Published June 8, 2016

TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay has joined with Tampa real estate developer Richard Corbett to finance the building of an on-dock cold storage facility.

Port Tampa Bay plans to start construction on a 130,000-square-foot cold storage food products facility this year. The facility is expected to be operational by fall 2017. The project was delayed until the port found financing for the project. That's where Corbett comes in.

"Dick Corbett has supported Tampa Bay and the state for many years. We are excited that he shares our vision that Port Tampa Bay will be the hub of the growing food distribution market in Central Florida," Paul Anderson, president and CEO of Port Tampa Bay, said in a statement. "As in all of our projects at the port, this will be a model public-private partnership that supports our strategic and master plan for our growth."

Corbett is the developer behind International Plaza in Tampa.

Orlando-based Port Logistics signed a 27-year lease agreement with the port to manage the new cold storage facility last year. The company operates more than 5.5 million square feet of warehouse storage space for clients and handles transportation and storage logistics for retailers and manufacturers from ports to retail destinations.

The new facility will receive, label, package and distribute temperature-controlled food products. Refrigerated storage will open doors for new business at Port Tampa Bay. Most refrigerated ships dock in Philadelphia, which has the most cold storage food facilities on the East Coast, according to a news release. Tampa's new facility could shave off three days of that usual voyage time.

The $19.1 million facility will employ 50 full-time workers and up to 200 part-time workers. Construction is expected to begin in November, according to the release.

Corbett is a Notre Dame graduate and onetime junior White House aide during the Kennedy administration. His wife, Cornelia, is a former part owner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team. He resigned as Florida Fish and Wildlife commissioner last year after instituting a controversial decision to bring back bear hunting in Florida.

Contact Justine Griffin at Follow @SunBizGriffin.