Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Former B&G Foods Chairman Sells New Jersey Industrial Property to Brookfield

The former chairman of consumer-products giant B&G Foods sold one of the firm's factories in North Jersey for $14.3 million to Brookfield Property Group, in a deal that symbolizes a family's waning ties to the company they founded in the late 19th century.

Leonard Polaner, who retired from B&G Foods roughly a decade ago and resides in West Orange, New Jersey, told CoStar on Monday that he had divested the 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at 426 Eagle Rock Ave. in Roseland. His family founded the namesake company Polaner, which makes fruit preserves, in the late 1800s in Newark, New Jersey, and he himself was instrumental in the creation of the B&G Foods conglomerate.

Brookfield Property Group, part of global real estate firm Brookfield Property Partners, purchased the property at a price that translates to $120 a square foot, according to CoStar, which cited public documents. The building is a Class B industrial manufacturing property completed in 1950.

Polaner, 89, said none of his family members are involved in B&G Foods now so it made sense to sell the Roseland property. During his tenure at B&G Foods, in addition to chairman, Polaner also held the titles of president and CEO.

Polaner is a key figure in the formation of B&G Foods, which is the tenant at the 8-acre Roseland site. Headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, B&G Foods owns more than 50 brands, including not only Polaner but Back to Nature, Bear Creek, Cream of Wheat, Green Giant, Ortega and Mrs. Dash. The firm, which posted $1.66 billion in net sales in fiscal year 2019, manufactures, sells and distributes foods across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Leonard Polaner said Max and Lena Polaner, his grandfather and grandmother, started their fruit-preserve operation as a side business to their fresh fruit and vegetable market in Newark in the late 1890s. In 1986, under Leonard's leadership, Polaner introduced Polaner All Fruit, which was sweetened naturally with fruit and fruit juice. That fruit spread was marketed with a “Don't Dare Call It Jelly!" TV advertising campaign.

In 1996, New York investors, led by the firm Bruckman, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. and aided by Polaner, formed B&G Foods to acquire Bloch & Guggenheimer and Burns & Ricker, according to a company history posted on B&G Foods' website.

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