“For a property of this size and type, there is a considerable amount of activity,” said realtor Pat Caffery, who is marketing the facility for mortgage holder Whitney Bank.
The Daily Iberian reported Sunday that Bruce Foods is eyeing the property after failing to come to terms with the City of Jeanerette for the lease of the former Fruit of the Loom plant there.
Caffery said Bruce Foods, which is looking to expand, could probably use most if not all of the 18.8 acres under roof at St. Martinville. Most potential buyers, however, would carve out an area for themselves and lease out the rest, he said.
The facility is well suited for light manufacturing and distribution, he said.
Whitney’s asking price is $3.5 million.
A St. Louis, Mo., holding company bought the plant at bankruptcy for just over $1.2 million in 2003. Commercial Development Company, doing business as St. Martinville LLC, reportedly turned down a $3 million offer by a Chinese consortium in 2003 only to sell it to Carencro developer Larry Leger’s LL St. Martin LLC for half that price in 2006.
Aubrey Shoemake’s Offshore Warriors Inc. bought the plant – Redubbed International Trade Center and with foreign-trade-zone status under the umbrella of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge – for $3.5 million in 2007 to build storm-resistant and energy-efficient housing in the wakes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
When that endeavor failed, Shoemake and other interests tried to promote the facility as a rapid response site after the BP disaster in the Gulf.
Whitney Bank took possession after a tax sale last month.