Fine Foods

In this 2018 photo, jars of Mina harissa, a Moroccan red pepper sauce, travel on a conveyor at Lancaster Fine Foods, now Stir Foods Lancaster. The Richardson Drive building where the company operates was sold earlier this month for $11.0 million.

A Chester County commercial real estate investment firm has made its second investment in Lancaster County, purchasing an industrial building anchored by the former Lancaster Fine Foods for $11.0 million, courthouse records show.

Downingtown-based First Eastern Development Co. acquired 501 Richardson Drive in East Hempfield Township on July 1. The 9.5-acre site has a 51-year-old building of 196,000 square feet, according to the new owner.

Lancaster Fine Foods, a contract manufacturer of sauces, dressings and condiments, was acquired earlier this year by California-based Stir Foods for an undisclosed price and renamed Stir Foods Lancaster.

Mike Thompson, CEO of Stir Foods Lancaster, said Monday the transaction will have no impact on the local operation, which has 65 employees. Among its customers are Auntie Anne’s, Starbucks and Casablanca Foods.

Richardson Drive is off Columbia Avenue opposite Leisure Lanes.

The seller of the property was Tim Harrison, a developer from Staten Island, New York, best known here as the developer of the Stockyards Business Park on the former site of the Lancaster Stockyards on Marshall Avenue.

First Eastern was founded in 2007 by commercial developer John H. Newton Jr. with the support of investment capital provided by Eastern Quality Foods of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, according to the First Eastern website.

Newton said Stir Foods Lancaster leases about 183,000 square feet in the Richardson Drive building. Along with First Eastern's purchase of the building, First Eastern also negotiated a five-year lease extension with Stir Foods Lancaster, taken the length of the lease past 10 years, said Newton. In addition, First Eastern pledged to spend $750,000 on improvements to the property, including new paving, roof repairs and "other miscellaneous deferred-maintenance items."

The Richardson Drive property joins a 171,000-square-foot industrial building at 121 N. Shirk Road, New Holland, as county properties in the First Eastern portfolio. The New Holland site is occupied by AMS Fulfillment, formerly Echo Data Group, which fills and ships orders for e-commerce clients. Newton said he hopes to enlarge First Eastern's local portfolio.

What to Read Next