Business & Real Estate

New life envisioned for Sacramento Hostess plant

The former Hostess plant on Arden Way has plenty of natural light, including vertical skylights called clerestories.
The former Hostess plant on Arden Way has plenty of natural light, including vertical skylights called clerestories.

It was a Sacramento institution – a building schoolkids visited on field trips, a place with the aroma of fresh bread wafting through its ceiling vents.

Now the Hostess Brands factory on Arden Way, closed since 2013, is being repurposed as “creative” office space or possibly a retail site.

Granite Bay developer Daniel Lee acquired the 64-year-old building last fall and over the past month has completely emptied it out, removing a massive oven, conveyer belts, pipes and other equipment jam-packed into 78,000 square feet of ground-floor space.

What remains is what architect Stephen Guest calls a “big blank sheet of paper.”

It’s a giant open space, with industrial maple flooring, huge steel girders and clerestories – vertical skylights that were a fixture in 19th-century factories.

“Any designer worth his salt could make this space look spectacular,” said Guest, a principal with the RMW firm.

Guest said the building – which fronts on Business 80 – is ideal for the sort of collaborative, open office space that’s now much in demand.

Steve Chamberlain, a Colliers International broker who is marketing the building to potential users, said he thinks the best tenant might be a “destination” retailer, like a furniture outlet, a sporting goods store or a high-end auto sales operation.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind retail location with all that freeway exposure,” he said.

The new owner plans lots of cosmetic fix-ups over the next month and some minor structural work, including adding a new entrance at the back of the building. One thing that won’t be changing is the big freeway-facing sign atop the building that spells out “Wonder Bread and Hostess Cakes” in red block letters.

After all, as Chamberlain observed, “native Sacramentans know this building from the sign.” And from sweet olfactory memories.

A reboot for riverfront condos

Construction is set to resume on a high-end condo project along the Garden Highway – decades after it was started.

The project – between Chevys and the Virgin Sturgeon – stalled in the 1990s after just six of the 18 planned units were built. Developer Michael Moser ended up buying the unfinished part of the project two years ago – for $1.2 million – and expects to begin building the remaining 12 units by the end of this month.

His target completion date: January.

The condos – all detached homes, separated by 5 feet – will be priced at just under $1 million. They’ll have high-end amenities, solar power and something else you can’t get anymore: river frontage.

“The county and the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers have really cracked down on (building) on the river. It’s gotten tougher and tougher and tougher,” he said.

Moser said he managed to get approvals only because the project had been entitled by its previous owners.

The new buildings will match the designs of the existing units, including having sliding glass doors at the rear. “You open them and you’re right on the river,” he said.

By the way, Moser has another intriguing development project in his sights. In April, he went into contract to acquire the former Coca-Cola bottling facility at 2200 Stockton Blvd.

He said he’s still conducting due diligence on the purchase. If he goes ahead, one plan is to add four floors above the two existing ones on the historic building. The ground floor could be used for a brewpub and other retail uses. Conference rooms could go on the second floor.

His idea for the upper four floors? A boutique hotel serving the nearby UC Davis Medical Center and the Shriners Hospital for Children.