A new tenant has been found for the vacant industrial space in Biddeford that once housed the Hostess Brands bakery. FedEx is expected to move into the 265,000-square-foot space at 1 Bakers Way later this year.
Biddeford city officials learned about the move when it was announced at Thursday’s annual meeting of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association in Portland. Memphis-based FedEx will operate a distribution center in Biddeford. The company operates a similar facility in Saco.
A FedEx spokeswoman didn’t return a message seeking comment on Thursday night, but Daniel Stevenson, Biddeford’s director of economic development, and Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant confirmed that FedEx is coming to the city.
They were unable to say how many jobs the distribution center will bring to the city or what the impact on the city’s tax base will be. Stevenson said he was told that FedEx will lease and occupy the entire facility, a 40-acre property within a mile of the Maine Turnpike.
Stevenson said the property is well suited for a company like FedEx.
The sprawling property was assessed in 2014 at nearly $17 million. It has 32 loading docks and a truck maintenance facility.
“Anytime you can fill a vacant building like that it’s a huge plus for our city,” Casavant said. “It also demonstrates that Biddeford is becoming a hot spot for economic development.”
Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy and shut down the factory in 2012, after years of financial problems and a strike by the bakery union. About 380 people lost their jobs.
The Biddeford plant made chocolate cupcakes, Sno Balls, and other baked goods. In 2013, it was purchased by Georgia-based Flowers Foods for $15.3 million, according to city records. Former Hostess Brands employees held out hope that it would reopen, but it did not.
The bakery had been on the market since June 2014, when Flower Foods opted to sell the plant along with eight other bakeries across the country. In late 2014, the plant was sold to a private equity firm.
Stevenson and Casavant said the property may have changed hands a third time, but they were unable to provide details.
Stevenson said it shouldn’t take long for FedEx to get the city permits it needs to occupy the plant.
*Original article can be found at Press Herald