California-based coffee maker Farmer Bros. Co. made it official Tuesday. The company will move its headquarters from Southern California to a new office, manufacturing and distribution facility in Northlake.
The 500,000-square-foot facility will be built on the east side of Interstate 35W and north of Texas 114, across the interstate from Texas Motor Speedway and just north of Fort Worth. Construction should begin this summer, the company said. In the meantime, Farmer Bros. will start shuttering its facility in Torrance, Calif., and set up temporary offices in the Alliance area.
Farmer Bros., founded in 1912, will bring about 30 executive and management jobs from California, but the remaining 300 manufacturing and distribution positions will be new local hires, the company said. The average annual salary will be $50,000, the company said.
When the facility is completed next year, it will become Northlake’s largest employer, Mayor Peter Dewing said.
“It’s a huge deal,” Dewing said. “I’ve been trying to attract a company of this caliber for years now. This will be a catalyst for other businesses to come in to support this business. It will be a large economic catalyst for other areas along Texas 114 and I-35W.”
On Tuesday, the Denton County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 to approve a 10-year, 60 percent abatement for business personal property taxes for Farmer Bros. and a 10-year, 60 percent real property tax abatement for the landowner, SH 114/IH35W Ventures, for the development. The land is owned by a group of more than two dozen private real estate investors, according to state filings. The incentives can be transferred if the land and development are sold.
Last week, the Northlake Town Council unanimously approved a 10-year, 85 percent business personal property tax abatement for the company and a 10-year, 75 percent real property tax abatement for the landowner.
Farmer Bros. CEO Mike Keown said the company conducted a two-year nationwide search for a new location and picked Northlake partly because of its proximity to the Port of Houston, where most of the coffee it roasts enters the U.S. The company also foresees further consolidation and reductions in production costs at the new facility, he said.
Farmer Bros., which had sales of $525 million in fiscal 2014, has more than 60,000 customers nationwide, he said.
“It was important for us to determine how to reposition ourselves for the next 100 years,” Keown said. “This area looked to be very promising. We’re envisioning quite a facility. It will provide us plenty of space to grow. We really tried to look at the site from a distribution logistics standpoint.”
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce helped Farmer Bros. search for a North Texas location.
“We are happy for Northlake to have landed this significant corporate addition to the North Texas region,” said David Berzina, the chamber’s executive vice president for economic development.
In February, Farmer Bros., which also distributes teas, spices and culinary products to the food service and convenience store industries, disclosed that it had narrowed its headquarters search to Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. The company said it would spend up to $40 million on new facilities and up to $25 million on new equipment.
Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads said a deal of this magnitude with a legacy company “will change the shape and face of Northlake.”
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727