RICHMOND, Va. – Rockingham County in Virginia will be home to a new 250,000-sq.-ft. cold storage and blast freezing facility. InterChange Group Inc., parent company of InterChange Cold Storage LLC, plans to invest $41.6 million in the project which will provide blast freezing to the poultry industry, among other services.

The project is ideal for the region due to road improvements and new rail service which will connect to the InterChange facility in addition to the Port of Virginia. The blast-freezing service will add value to processed and package fresh poultry by using specialized low-temperature freezers for preservation and improved marketability.

The facility will be built in several phases and potentially could reach 600,000 sq. ft. with more than 80,000 pallet positions in multiple rooms with temperatures ranging from -10°F up to 34°F, according to InterChange. The first phase of construction will include approximately 16,000 pallet positions with a targeted opening in the second quarter of fiscal 2019. Phase 2 of construction will follow almost immediately and will include blast freezing and access to rail lines.

“InterChange is pleased to increase our cold storage capacity and deepen our investment in Rockingham County, the Shenandoah Valley, and the Commonwealth,” said Devon Anders, president of InterChange Group. “Enhancing our service offerings and investing in new technology is what our customers require. The integration of advanced warehousing, renewable energy, blast freezing, repackaging, product tracking, and asset-based, multi-modal transportation provide the safe and efficient cold chain demanded by today’s consumer. We also look forward to expanding our team of associates to increase economic prosperity in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $300,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to help Rockingham County with the project. The county also will receive $650,000 from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Dept. of Transportation’s Economic Development Access Fund and $450,000 in funding from Rail Industrial Access Program administered by the Virginia Dept. of Rail and Public Transit. Rockingham County is providing $300,000 in local matching funds to enhance rail and road infrastructure at the cold storage site.

“This project creates vital infrastructure for the large and growing cluster of food and beverage industries in the Shenandoah Valley, which in turn produce major markets for Virginia farmers,” Northam said. “I am proud to support this effort that will bring new jobs and significant investment in the region, while also bolstering the manufacturing and agricultural sectors that are so important to our rural economies.”