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Case Study

International marketing campaign lands state of the art buyer for former cigarette manufacturing facility

phillip morris plant sale

​​When Philip Morris USA decided to shift cigarette manufacturing, its Cabarrus County, North Carolina plant was no longer needed. The plant was one of the largest cigarette plants in the world, and at its peak, produced 155 billion cigarettes per year and employed more than 2,500 people.

The 2.5-million-square-foot, two-story manufacturing plant and one-million-square-foot warehouse distribution facility rested on 2,023 acres, and represented the largest industrial complex in North Carolina.

JLL’s Development & Asset Strategy (DAS) team quickly identified the mismatch in the complex’s size relative to the Greater Charlotte industrial market. At the time of the initial offering, if the subject property captured 100 percent of the total Charlotte industrial absorption, it would take more than two years to fill the property.

The significant size required the DAS team to look outside the market to locate national or international users. The team explored alternative uses, such as movie studios, a Formula 1 road course, a multi-tenant incubator and U.S. Homeland Security facilities.

The property sold in 2014 for $68 million to a single offshore user who plans to redevelop the site for high tech, clean-energy manufacturing. The buyer saw value in the power plant, rail, fiber, and general quality of construction where others didn’t. The buyer is expected to employ 1,200 people.

JLL’s Development and Asset Strategy practice has extensive experience repositioning large industrial facilities for corporate clients. Contact us to find out how we can support your organization’s real estate goals.

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