By Seth Daniel and Sue Woodcock
The Necco Confectionery Company’s run in Revere might finally be coming to an end after some tumultuous times over the last few years, with the property being sold to two Massachusetts companies for $54.6 million.
The news first broke through Banker & Tradesman newspaper, and was very unexpected locally – even though the company has had its share of financial and leadership troubles in the last few years.
The newspaper reported that the state-of-the-art plant, which was built at a huge cost in 2003 when the company moved from Cambridge, will remain in operation through at least August 31, 2018.
The new owners, Atlantic Management of Framingham and VMD Companies of North Andover, closed on the property April 28.
Atlantic CEO Joe Zink did not immediately return a call from the Journal to comment, but told Banker & Tradesman that they had been eyeing the property and talking to Necco for a long time.
VMD also did not return calls or e-mails sent by the Journal for comment.
Necco CEO Al Gulachenski also did not return several calls requesting comment.
Zink indicated that they plan to keep the property as is until the lease runs out, but intend to meet with Mayor Brian Arrigo in the near future to talk about development opportunities.
Mayor Brian Arrigo said that first, he is excited about the payment of back taxes and overdue water and sewer charges. In recent years, after the retirement of long-time CEO Dom Antonellis, the company fell on very hard times and experienced a great deal of turmoil when purchased by an investor group from New York. During that time, several City bills were late or unpaid, and that was the case now.
“I’m excited the taxes are coming in,” Arrigo said.
Arrigo said he is looking forward and working on a vision for the property, which has more than 800,000 square feet inside. The city is looking at this in conjunction with Wonderland, Suffolk Downs and Waterfront Square, he said.
Locally, the sale sparked a great deal of speculation as to whether the combined real estate companies were assembling a larger development opportunity and, perhaps, were working on a purchase of Wonderland Dog Track.
However, several councillors said it was disheartening news as it is the latest business in Revere to have left the City in recent months. Necco came to the City with great fanfare in 2003, and was given an extremely lucrative Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) agreement at the time.
It also is a major employer and taxpayer in the City.
Losing it, many said, seemed like just another blow to the local economy.
“It’s a shame these businesses are leaving…NECCO, which we gave a tax break to, Bianco and Sons, Rent-A-Tool,” said Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna. “It’s concerning.”
Councillor-at-large Anthony Zambuto said he was disappointed that the largest taxpayer in the city was leaving. Zambuto has been a major supporter of the company in Revere, even when times weren’t so great for the candy manufacturer.
In 2014, Gulachenski took over the company with the goal of re-building the brand and restoring its market share, as well as expanding to new markets. Apparently, it didn’t go as planned.
Just what will happen to the long-time, Massachusetts-based candy company when their lease expires was uncertain this week.