Former Nabisco bakery may be sold and demolished

End of an era: The former Nabisco bakery is located at 12000 Roosevelt Boulevard. The site’s current owner, Mondelez, and “an out-of-state investor-developer” have entered into an agreement of sale for an undisclosed price. TIMES FILE PHOTO

The former Nabisco bakery on Roosevelt Boulevard may soon be sold and largely demolished to make room for retail and industrial development, according to a report published by the Philadelphia Business Journal last Thursday.

The Journal cited a commercial real estate broker who is facilitating a deal between the site’s current owner, Mondelez, and “an out-of-state investor-developer.” The parties reportedly have entered into an agreement of sale for an undisclosed price. The source did not disclose the name of the buyer.

Mondelez, a company created in 2011 when Kraft Foods spun off its snack foods business into a separate entity, had listed the 27.5-acre property for $25 million. It’s at 12000 Roosevelt Boulevard, just south of Byberry Road.

The structures on-site include the prominent six-story bakery tower, additional manufacturing space and a 120,000-square-foot distribution center. The Journal reported that “early plans involve keeping the distribution center and razing the other two segments to make way for newly constructed retail space.” The real estate broker noted the site’s desirable location on U.S. Route 1 near the Woodhaven Expressway, with convenient access to Interstate 95.

The former National Biscuit Company built the plant in the mid-1950s. In 1971, the company changed its name to the familiar Nabisco brand. The name remained after tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds bought the company in 1985. Fifteen years later, another tobacco firm, Philip Morris, bought the brand and grouped Nabisco with its Kraft Foods subsidiary. In 2011, Kraft split into two companies with newly created Mondelez taking over the Nabisco brand.

In the early 1980s, the plant employed 1,300. By 2008, just 450 workers remained, producing iconic products such as Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, Lorna Doone cookies and Teddy Graham crackers. Mondelez closed the facility last July, ostensibly to consolidate production at company plants in New Jersey and Virginia. But former employees allege that the company’s ultimate objective is to increase overseas production. Mondelez is building a new $350 million plant near Monterrey, Mexico, where labor costs are cheaper and markets are growing. Mondelez also operates facilities in China, Bahrain and India, among other countries, the Chicago Tribune reported last week.

In the aftermath of the Northeast plant’s closing, Congressman Brendan Boyle, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack and other political leaders called for consumers to boycott Oreos and other Nabisco products. Subsequently, Mondelez announced it would lay off 600 workers in Chicago, prompting Donald Trump to echo calls for an Oreo boycott. ••