SunOpta, Inc., a leading plant-based food and beverage company, hired CRA to lead the search and negotiation for a new southern manufacturing facility to complete their national production/distribution network. CRA was tasked to research multiple states and markets to provide the best solution for SunOpta’s facility which required significant water and power needs, along with the ability to access a skilled labor force capable of executing the company’s growth in the aseptic beverage space.
CRA’s team led a multi-state search exploring both raw and developer-controlled land with ample utility capabilities. During the real estate search, CRA also engaged several state and local economic development authorities to explore potential property tax abatements, workforce/training credits, and utility saving opportunities. Through a competitive environment, CRA identified multiple land tracts that could deliver the required infrastructure needs while accommodating both the client’s immediate needs and long-term expansion capability.
By selecting a raw land site that was not controlled by a developer, CRA was able to leverage multiple bids from developers on the project, and create a very competitive environment. As each developer has different capital structures, exit strategies and general contractor relationships, this build-to-suit solution allowed the client to select the developer that could deliver on client’s timing and cost goals, while maintaining exclusive control over future development of the contiguous expansion opportunity.