McAllen, Texas-based Abasto Properties LLC plans to start construction of a wholesale produce market in San Antonio by the end of December, said Fernando Narvaez, director of sales and marketing.
The project will be completed in at least three phases, he said, and will include a total of 200 warehouses. The first phase, consisting of 60 warehouses, should be finished by the end of 2014 or early in 2015.
The 80-acre site near the corner of Loop 410 and I-37 in south San Antonio will be about 3½ hours from McAllen, Narvaez said.
The company started pre-selling warehouse units this year.
San Antonio is an ideal place for such a facility because it can serve a large local and regional market that includes Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Marcos, Narvaez said.
“There’s no other project like this in San Antonio,” he said.
The project will consist mostly of small- and medium-sized warehouses operated by Mexican exporters desiring a presence in the market, he said.
“Geographically, it makes sense to have this distribution center in San Antonio,” he said.
That’s because to truck product to major markets like Houston or Dallas from ports in McAllen, Laredo, Eagle Pass or El Paso a distributor must go through San Antonio, he said.
The facility will mostly accommodate product shipped to the U.S. from Mexico, but also will include some U.S. product destined for south of the border, he said.
It could serve as a consolidation location for products being sent to Mexico.
Narvaez shared some project details:
- All warehouse units are 3,100 square feet with an additional 900-square-foot mezzanine for offices;
- All warehouses will be refrigerated;
- Each cold room can hold up to 156 pallets — about seven truckloads;
- Temperature in the loading areas will be controlled to ensure cold chain continuity;
- Each warehouse features a 450 square-foot covered dock;
- The project will feature extra-wide streets for easy truck maneuvering; and
- Each warehouse will have plenty of vehicle parking in front plus ample general parking for visitors and trucks.
San Antonio will differ from McAllen, which ships nearly all of its product out of state, in that about half of its product will be distributed locally or regionally.
Some of the tenants will be McAllen firms that are expanding their operations, while others will have their sole location in San Antonio, Narvaez said.
As competition heats up in McAllen, some distributors will expand into San Antonio to be closer to their customers, he added.
Abasto plans to begin phase two construction about one year after phase one is completed in 2015.
The company expects the project to create more than 500 jobs in the first three years and more than 1,000 jobs in five years.
Abasto Properties LLC is a sister company of Abasto Corp., which has built and operated five wholesale markets in Mexico and South Texas since 1983, including the McAllen Produce Terminal.