Duke Realty buys food processing plant near ports for $171M

Juanita’s Foods sold property for 7,000% gain

From left: Juanita’s Foods' Mark De La Torre, Duke Realty's James Connor, and Juanita’s Foods' Aaron De La Torre with 645 George De La Torre Jr
From left: Juanita’s Foods' Mark De La Torre, Duke Realty's James Connor, and Juanita’s Foods' Aaron De La Torre with 645 George De La Torre Jr (Google Maps, Getty, Juanita Foods, Duke Realty)

Duke Realty has just added a food cannery near the city of Long Beach to its portfolio, one that has been around for more than 30 years.

Duke bought about 30 industrial parcels in Wilmington totaling about 400,000 square feet for $171 million, according to public property records filed with Los Angeles County last month. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The deal works out to $430 per square foot.

The property — which includes about 108,600 square feet of industrial space for food manufacturing and 291,000 square feet of vacant industrial land — is currently occupied by Juanita’s Foods. Founded in the 1940s in Wilmington as a food cannery, Juanita’s Foods now manufactures canned soups, beans and other products for sale at supermarkets.

Juanita’s Foods declined to comment on the deal.

Juanita’s Foods bought multiple parcels for its current site for about $2.4 million between 1988 and 2000, records show. With Duke’s purchase, the value of the property has shot up by more than 7,000 percent.

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Located on a square block between East G Street, East E Street, George de la Torre Junior Avenue and North Banning Boulevard, the property marks Duke Realty’s closest warehouse to both ports, an ideal location for any industrial landlord. It’s less than four miles from the Port of Long Beach and about seven miles from the Port of Los Angeles.

Duke could build a brand new warehouse on the site with relative ease, given its currently zoned for industrial uses, or keep Juanita’s Foods as a tenant. Many longtime owner-operators of industrial real estate, like Juanita’s Foods, in Los Angeles have decided to cash out of their properties, taking advantage of soaring industrial prices, often with a sale-leaseback deal. These operators can use proceeds of the land sale to invest in their companies or expand to additional locations.

Duke Realty isn’t slowing down on acquisitions ahead of its proposed merger with Prologis. Last week, Duke spent about $97 million to buy 30 acres of vacant land in the Inland Empire city of Perris, where it plans to build a new warehouse and trucking yard on site.