Farmer Bros. has officially begun its relocation from Torrance, Calif., to North Texas and now has about 50 employees working from an interim headquarters off Westport Parkway near Alliance Airport.
The coffee maker and distributor opened its interim office last month and should have more than 100 employees here by the end of the year, CEO Michael Keown said today at a groundbreaking ceremony for its new corporate headquarters to be built in Northlake on open land east of Interstate 35 across from the Texas Motor Speedway.
The 537,000-square-foot facility will stretch from I-35 east to Ashmore Lane, north of Texas 114, with the corporate office fronting I-35. The complex will also include 100,000-square-feet of manufacturing space, where coffee beans from some 30 countries will be roasted and packaged. There will also be 300,000 square feet of distribution space.
The century-old company expects to employ at least 300 at the Northlake complex, which should open in about a year with room for growth, Keown said. “It’s going to be a really cool facility,” he said.
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The location of the 28-acre site, with its proximity to I-35, Alliance and DFW Airport, was crucial in its selection, company officials said. The company brings its coffee beans through the Port of Houston and will continue to operate a manufacturing facility in Houston.
Keown said Farmer Bros. conducted a nationwide search for a new home after deciding that it would leave its 55-year-old facility in California. It settled on the DFW-Oklahoma City corridor, because of its central location, and then looked at some 25 sites in the Metroplex. He said the company settled on six finalists, most in the Alliance area and one in Plano.
Keown said he’s in the process of looking for a new home in the area and, as an empty nester, is considering downtown Fort Worth.
Barry Fischetto, senior vice president of operations, said construction will begin soon on the corporate complex, with work on the offices first, then manufacturing and distribution. The corporate offices and distribution facility are expected to be completed by next summer, and manufacturing operations will then be phased in.
Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads and Northlake Mayor Peter Dewing were among the public officials beaming at the groundbreaking, describing Farmer as a future corporate partner for years to come. It will become the biggest employer in Northlake, a fast-growing small town with about 2,700 residents.
Both government bodies approved tax incentives for the new facility. Denton County is providing a 10-year, 60-percent abatemnt on real property taxes and Northlake approved a 10-year, 85-percent business personal property tax abatement.
Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773