Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

The shuttered Campbell Soup plant in south Sacramento is being purchased by an investment group from outside the area, brokers familiar with the deal said Wednesday.

Buyer found for Campbell Soup plant in south Sacramento

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 - 8:04 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 - 6:15 am

Campbell Soup Co. has found a buyer for its shuttered plant in south Sacramento, although the deal hasn’t been completed and the prospective buyer’s identity isn’t 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 region’s 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 wouldn’t be surprised to see the property carved up for multiple tenants or owners.

“It’s such a massive property, it’d 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. “Everyone’s looking to be much closer to their markets.”

Campbell’s 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 buyer’s identity.

Campbell wouldn’t confirm the report that the plant was in escrow. “The process is ongoing and confidential,” said company spokeswoman Carla Burigatto. “We’ve 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.”


Call The Bee’s Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.





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