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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, February 13, 2012, 7:00 am

Clover moves offices back to south Petaluma

Plan soured for expanded plant at former Adobe Lumber yard

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    1650 Corporate Circle, Petaluma

    This south Petaluma office building is now the headquarters of two noted Sonoma County foods companies, Clover Stornetta Farms and Amy's Kitchen. (Cassidy Turley BT Commercial photo)

    PETALUMA — Clover Stornetta Farms moved its headquarters back to the south end of Petaluma, closer to its production facility for milk and other dairy beverages.

    At the beginning of this month, the dairy processor relocated about 45 employees from the 13,000 square feet of offices at 5301 Old Redwood Hwy. at the north end of Petaluma to 17,500 square feet on the ground floor of 1650 Corporate Cir. A former branch office for GMAC’s Homecomings Financial wholesale mortgage office before it closed, the top floor of the 60,000-square-foot south Petaluma building became home to the headquarters of prepared natural foods powerhouse Amy’s Kitchen on the top floor in 2009.

    The lease on the north Petaluma offices was expiring, and Clover Stornetta was able to sublease larger fully furnished offices for two years, near the Petaluma processing and bottling center at 91 Lakeville St., according to Mkulima Britt, chief financial officer. The GMAC lease expires in May 2014.

    Clover bought the former Adobe Lumber yard at 5400 Old Redwood in 2004 then moved its offices to the north side in preparation of redeveloping the site into a larger processing plant and offices. Trouble was, the property needed to be annexed into the city, and an update to the city General Plan land-use document was needed to do that, Mr. Britt said.

    “The General Plan took longer to get through than we thought,” he said. It was approved in May 2008. “After that, the process continued, but by that time we already made adjustments.”

    Between 2004 and 2010, Clover inked deals with co-packers in Modesto and Willows for solid products such as cheese and butter and expanded the Lakeville plant, which employs 160. The office lease at 5401 Old Redwood, now owned by Cornerstone Properties, was extended twice. Clover uses the former lumber yard for truck, packaging and other storage.

    Though the Lakeville plant has the fluid products capacity to meet the company’s 3 percent to 4 percent recent annual unit sales growth, the company is looking for cold- and freezer-storage expansion, Mr. Britt said. Clover has been leasing space at a frozen products distribution warehouse in Penngrove for a half-dozen years, and that arrangement has worked well, he added.

    Steven Leonard and Trevor Buck of Cassidy Turley BT Commercial represented GMAC and Clover in the late January sublease.

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