Campbell Soup Co. has found a buyer for its shuttered plant in south Sacramento, although the deal hasnt been completed and the prospective buyers identity isnt known.
Brokers familiar with the deal said the buyer was an investment group from out of the area that intends to lease the 135-acre property for various uses, including warehousing and food processing.
The 1.6 million-square-foot facility includes a large, centrally located warehouse near Highway 99, along with an ample groundwater supply and cut-rate wastewater disposal that comes with the property, the brokers said. These assets make the Campbell plant a potentially attractive purchase at what may be a bargain price. The regions commercial real estate market remains near bottom, with investors scooping up warehouses, shopping centers and other properties by the dozens.
The brokers requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the pending sale. Brokers directly involved said they were bound by confidentiality agreements and could not discuss it.
Mark Demetre, an industrial real estate expert with Jones Lang LaSalle, said the value of the property lay primarily in its access to water and cheap wastewater disposal, which food processors require. Location and a strong blue-collar workforce in the area are other assets, he said.
The buildings themselves need work, and the site will require redevelopment.
This is going to take someone who will roll up their sleeves and maybe has a tenant in tow, someone who really knows how to make use of that property, Demetre said.
Rob Neenan, president of the California League of Food Processors, said community leaders have been anxious to revive the site as a food-production plant. They were hoping to find a food company to purchase it, he said.
While that may not happen, Neenan said he wouldnt be surprised to see the property carved up for multiple tenants or owners.
Its such a massive property, itd be tough for one company to take it over.
Garrick Brown, research director for commercial brokerage Cassidy Turley in Sacramento, said the central Sacramento County location near Highway 99, Interstate 5 and a rail line would be a big draw for warehouse tenants.
The demand is really hot right now for good warehouse space, Brown said. Everyones looking to be much closer to their markets.
Campbells 700-employee plant, a mainstay of the Franklin Boulevard neighborhood for decades, closed this summer after the company shifted soup production to plants in other states. Campbell began taking bids months ago.
This week, Voit Real Estate Services said in a quarterly report on market conditions that the facility was in escrow.
The report was confirmed by Sacramento County Supervisor Jimmie Yee, whose district includes the plant. He said the prospective buyer was continuing to work through a pre-sale inspection, though he did not know the buyers identity.
Campbell wouldnt confirm the report that the plant was in escrow. The process is ongoing and confidential, said company spokeswoman Carla Burigatto. Weve always said we intended to sell that property.
Barbara Hayes, executive director of the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, said she looked forward to the sale.
Recruiting more food-processing and agriculture-related firms to the area has been a top priority for regional economic leaders. It will be nice when there is resolution as to the ownership, Hayes said. Then we can really look ahead to marketing and putting people in there.
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