The cold storage asset class has been seeing high levels of investment, but this may not necessarily translate into a smooth supply chain for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. The answer, experts say, may be a mix of strategies for distributing the vaccine. Make no mistake, thoughcold storage will be an essential component and with an inventory equal to the size of JFK Airport (or nearly 250 million square feet), it is questionable whether it is up for the task. 

"Vacancies for modern cold storage facilities are lower than in any other product type," says Mehtab Randhawa, Director, Industrial Research, Americas, JLL in a post.  "Older facilities are outdated and often cannot be renovated to meet modern standards based on the level of automation required."

Right now, there just aren't a lot of available cold storage facilities to meet the demand for vaccines, in addition to food distribution. The cold storage industry represents 1.8% of the total US industrial inventory, and vacancies in cold storage assets have remained below 10% for nearly 20 years, according to JLL. In comparison, office vacancy rates have been at 15.3% during the same period.

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Leslie Shaver

Les Shaver has been covering commercial and residential real estate for almost 20 years. His work has appeared in Multifamily Executive, Builder, units, Arlington Magazine in addition to and Real Estate Forum.