When Dallas’ Stream Realty Partners began negotiating for a new Farmer Bros. headquarters north of Fort Worth, the commercial real estate firm was in the dark about the deal.
The 103-year-old California-based coffee company announced in April that it would move its home office and a manufacturing and distribution center to Texas.
Farmer Bros. will break ground next month on the $40 million project on Interstate 35W.
“When we met with Farmer Bros. over a year ago, they were operating in secret under a code name,” said Stream Realty managing director and partner Cannon Green. “They had a request for a proposal for a build-to-suit project, and we had a few meetings with the company.
“We never knew who they were.”
The company was also originally looking at a location in Oklahoma City.
Green said the half-million-square-foot office and industrial deal went quiet for several months before the company got down to business.
Farmer Bros. negotiated economic incentives from Denton County for its new business complex, which will employ about 300 people. More than two dozen of the company’s employees will be moving from Torrance, Calif., to the site in the town of Northlake.
Stream Realty originally planned to locate the coffee company in its Northport 35 business park on the east side of I-35W just north of State Highway 114. That three-building, 945,000-square-foot speculative industrial project broke ground in January.
Instead, Stream Realty worked with Farmer Bros. to buy an adjoining 28-acre development site.
“It was a surprise to a lot of people that we made this deal on a separate land site,” Green said. “It’s going to be a fantastic facility for Farmer Bros.”
Stream Realty wasn’t the only real estate firm vying for the development.
“We were in Hillwood’s backyard, and they were competing for it, along with Trammell Crow,” Green said.
Farmer Bros.’ new headquarters will include corporate office space, a training facility, a coffee roasting plant and a distribution warehouse. Stream’s Green, Albert Jarrell and Bob Hagewood are overseeing the development.
The facility will be owned by Wells Fargo and leased by Farmer Brothers.
Farmer Bros. has annual sales of more than a half billion dollars for coffee, tea and culinary products. Its clients include more 60,000 food and beverage outlets. The company has about 1,800 employees.
Farmer Bros. will close its longtime facilities in Torrance when the Northlake operation opens late next year.
The company has said the move to Texas will result in $12 million to $15 million in annual savings.
By: Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News