Tasty Baking Co. announced Tuesday that it is selling two pieces of land in Nicetown - the sites of its bakery and its former corporate offices and distribution center - to a Philadelphia firm that plans to build shopping centers there. The price: $6 million.
Tasty Baking is moving to the Navy Yard, a process that should be complete by the end of spring, said Paul Ridder, senior vice president and chief financial officer.
The two properties, the bakery at 2801 Hunting Park Ave. and Tasty's old corporate offices at 3413 Fox St., total 20 acres. They are separated by a rail line, Ridder said.
The buyer is TKMG Associates, a limited partnership formed by Metro Development Co. Michael Grasso, president of Metro Development, said he planned to raze the Tasty Baking buildings.
He envisions two shopping centers: one with big tenants; the other with a convenience store and drugstore, and possibly a restaurant. Grasso said he is in talks with a grocery chain interested in a 65,000-square-foot space, a home-improvement company, and a women's clothing store.
"We have to make deals with these three tenants to make the whole project work," Grasso said. The project, which could start by year's end, would cost $39 million, he said, and would provide 350 construction jobs and 750 jobs long-term.
Charles Pizzi, president and chief executive officer of Tasty Baking, said the company made the deal after talking with neighborhood leaders and city officials about how they would like the land used.
"I wanted to leave the neighborhood better than I found it 71/2 years ago," Pizzi said.
The sale is contingent on a city zoning change and TKMG's completing due diligence.
Alan Greenberger, acting deputy mayor for planning and development and head of the city planning commission, said the community wants more stores, particularly a grocery store.
Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., whose district includes the Tasty Baking site, has been briefed on the plans and has written an ordinance, to be introduced next week, that would rezone the properties for "area shopping center," Greenberger said.
Jones said he sees the sale as the end of the manufacturing era in his district. He's glad, though, that Tasty Baking didn't leave the community with an empty building. He said he sees signs of a commercial renaissance, with several developers expressing interest.
"A grocery store in an urban area is always welcome, and I can't wait for that to happen," Jones said.
But, he added, he wants more details of the development plan: "I think they need a lot more discussion before we talk champagne."
The agreement includes a provision that could cancel the deal if someone wanted the property for a slots casino. It also would give Tasty Baking a cut of the profits if TKMG sold the property for a gaming facility within two years.
Donald Trump proposed building a casino on the property, but did not win Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approval.