Factory sites for housing

Manufacturing sites prime for redevelopement

Gaylord Container Corp.'s story is a familiar one in the age of offshoring. Undercut by foreign competition, the 80-year-old cardboard box maker sold out to Austin (Tex.) paper-packaging company Temple-Inland Inc. (TIN ) in 2002. But then this month, Temple-Inland sold Gaylord's 17-acre box plant in Antioch, Calif., for $6.5 million to real estate firm Fowler Property Acquisition LLC, which plans to get the land rezoned for residential use. A homebuilder has already offered Fowler $17 million for the land once it's rezoned. No wonder: The site is in one of the country's hottest housing markets, the San Francisco Bay Area.

The combination of the U.S. manufacturing bust and the housing boom has turned industrial plants into prized real estate. Many prime locations on city waterfronts and in downtown neighborhoods are occupied by factories that are closing left and right as competition from Asia drives jobs offshore and manufacturers out of business. But young professionals and empty nesters flocking back to inner cities have "made whatever scarce land is available in urban areas more attractive," says Christopher Jones, vice-president for research at New York's Regional Plan Assn

Home Is Where The Factory Is [Business Week]

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