Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

After producing Campbell Soup products for more than 60 years, the south Sacramento factory closed last year. Now it has a new future as a multi-use facility.

Massive auction set for Campbell Soup factory equipment in Sacramento

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 - 12:40 pm

The new owners of Sacramento’s former Campbell Soup Co. factory expect to turn the site into a bustling mixed-use business park, with everything from office buildings to shops to factories.

But first they’ve got to remove the soup kettles, canning lines and other equipment left by Campbell.

Hackman Capital Partners, Rabin Worldwide and Capital Recovery Group will hold a three-day auction beginning today at the Franklin Boulevard factory, with the intent of clearing space for potential tenants as well as raising cash.

The inventory is worth an estimated $6 million to $8 million, said Shira Weissman, chief operating officer at Rabin.

The site has been renamed Capital Commerce Center, and representatives of two manufacturing companies have already toured, said Ryan Smith, managing director at Hackman. He said the presence of Campbell’s heavy equipment makes it hard for potential tenants to see the possibilities.

“It’s really a bit maze-like, with all the equipment, the pallets,” Smith said Monday. “First and foremost is getting the equipment out of there; we can’t really do anything until we get everything of value out of there.”

The three companies bought the 129-acre site plus the equipment in December, about five months after the 66-year-old plant closed, for an undisclosed price.

Besides the two manufacturers that have visited the facility, Smith said the new owners have heard from retailers and other prospective tenants.

The redevelopment is being closely watched in the Sacramento area. Campbell’s shutdown last summer erased 700 high-paying blue-collar jobs in an otherwise struggling neighborhood. The new owners have said it could take several years before the site is fully open for business.

The auction, meanwhile, is drawing international interest.

“We’ll have bidders participating from all over the world,” Weissman said. The auction will be conducted online and in person, she said. She said at least one overseas bidder, from South Africa, is expected to attend the auction in person.

Several factors have contributed to the interest in the sale: the sheer volume of equipment, the high quality and Campbell’s name recognition.

“Because it was Campbell, it was maintained very nicely,” Weissman said. “This (plant) was functioning until the very last day. It’s a big name, it’s a high-profile case.”

Items for sale include canning and bottling lines, boilers, air compressors, electrical systems, giant stainless steel kettles and more.

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

Read more articles by Dale Kasler

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