Russell Stover building

Russell Stover leased this property from the city since the 1970s. The company recently activated a part of its contract that allows it to buy the property from the city for $1. 

Editor’s note: The Montrose Daily Press attempted to confirm with the local Economic Development Corporation all of the facts in the article but this was declined.

There’s a buyer slated to close on the former Russell Stover plant in Montrose.

Though the deal isn’t set to close until April 26, the former candy factory will be used as a food processing and cold-storage facility. Specifics on the operation weren’t available.

The buyer, Benezet Realty LLC is headquartered in Broomfield.

Russell Stover first came to Montrose in 1973 under an incentive deal that allowed the company to buy back the property for $1. Russell Stover enacted that portion of the contract last year and purchased the land back from the city.

The company has been shopping the land around since.

The property was split in two, and the front building, which formerly served as a retail store for Russell Stover, is not included in the sale to Benezet.

The Daily Sentinel this week reported that the 278,400-square-foot facility will sell for $4.5 million, less than a third of the $15 million appraised value for the building and land.

The Daily Press attempted to contact Mitchell Bennett, Benezet Realty’s sole agent listed with the Secretary of State’s office, to confirm the figures, but was unable to reach him. The Press also reached out to Sandy Head, director of the Montrose Economic Development Corporation, who said she was unable to confirm or comment given a non-disclosure agreement she is under.

Head, in part of her comments to the Sentinel said, “I think it’s a great opportunity. The buyer has been interested since last August, doing due diligence and talking to people to see who all would be interested in filling a portion of the building. The picture is much bigger than just food production. The building is very specialized, so it’s not something that would be attractive to any and every kind of manufacturing. The fact that the employees who were there are trained in food handling, that’s another attractive piece of the building.”

Benezet Realty is “rethinking this nation’s food supply chain with a new farm-to-table platform that provides direct distribution opportunities for small-scale, sustainable farmers and ranchers to local markets,” according to the Sentinel’s story.

It’s unclear at the moment how many of the former Russell Stover employees will be allowed to stay on with the new operation. It’s also unclear how many took the chocolate company’s option to relocate to its other plants.

“We have no comment at this point since the sale is still in process,” Jim Kissinger, vice president of human resources for Russell Stover, said.

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