What’s left of the now-shuttered Nabisco cookie factory in Fair Lawn will soon be gone.
After acquiring the 40-acre property on Route 208 for $146.5 million from the cookie and cracker maker’s parent company Mondelez International in October 2021, Greek Development has been moving toward redeveloping the site into a new, modernized distribution facility.
After beginning asbestos cleanup and demolition last fall, Greek Development expects to wrap up that phase of work within the next three weeks, allowing for implosion of the plant’s signature tower April 15 at 8 a.m., local officials shared in a March 10 update about the property.
During the most recent construction meeting with officials from Fair Lawn and neighboring Glen Rock as well as local legislators, Greek Development reported that abatement is complete in two of the property’s three areas and that, to date, no asbestos fibers have been found in the air.
The East Brunswick-based real estate firm’s managing partner Matt Schlindwein also told officials that a representative from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has visited the work site on several occasions to ensure that the proper procedures are being followed.
According to an application filed before the Fair Lawn Planning Board in late January by CLPF Greek Fair Lawn LLC, an affiliate of Greek Development, the project calls for a 644,000-square-foot warehouse that would include parking for 256 cars and 120 trailers, as well as 102 loading spaces and 10,000 square feet of office space.
Greek Development has not yet said if a tenant is secured for the property.
After opening in 1958, the local plant churned out some of Nabisco’s most popular brands, including Oreos cookies, Ritz crackers, Teddy Grahams graham cookies and Lorna Doone shortbread cookies. In July 2021, Mondelez closed the location, resulting in the loss of about 600 jobs and costing the borough about $1 million in ratables.
Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso told NJBIZ, “We were upset to see Mondelez leave; they provided a lot of great Union jobs to families in our community and throughout the states of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. We tried to entice them to stay but they made it very clear that labor was cheaper in other areas and the facility wasn’t worth upgrading anymore. We’re excited that a new development will be coming to town and the space won’t be dormant.”
Mondelez said the Fair Lawn plant as well as a facility in Atlanta, Ga., were “no longer strategic assets from a geographic footprint perspective and both face significant operational challenges, including aging infrastructure and outdated production capabilities, which would have required significant investment to bring them to the modernized state required for the future.”
The company still maintains a presence in North Jersey, employing about 1,500 employees at its North American headquarters in East Hanover.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:25 p.m. ET March 14, 2023, to include a statement from Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso.l