The beloved Madelaine Chocolate factory is up for sale, following a brief comeback after Sandy.
The Rockaway Beach sweet spot suffered over $50 million in structural damages and loss of sales after the superstorm and was forced to shut down for about a year. They partially reopened in October 2013, but as of last week, the facility is on the market, said co-owner Jorge Farber.
“Considering the extent of the damage, there was only so much we have been able to do,” Farber said. “We are sitting on a 200,000-square-foot facility and only utilizing 50 percent of it.”
Madelaine Chocolate officials listed the site with real estate firm CBRE for an undisclosed amount of money. Interested buyers have the option of taking over the unused half or the entire four-building complex.
“There are all kinds of options we need to explore,” Farber said. “We’re going to relocate only if we can sell it. It’s a long, long process.”
The organization does not yet have a relocation space in mind, but one thing is for sure—their chocolates are here to stay.
“Our customer base has remained intact considering we were out for a year,” Farber said. “I’m just sitting on excess real estate.”
After Sandy, Madelaine Chocolate received a $250,000 grant from National Grid and $6.9 million from Empire State Development to retain its 315 employees. The Small Business Association also loaned the company close to $13 million.
They were able to rehire 120 people and partially operate on four of the 14 chocolate production lines.
But despite assistance, the complex at the foot of the Cross Bay Bridge is on the market. Before the storm, it was one of the biggest local employers in the region and had 315 full-time employees.
“The Madelaine Chocolate Company is not only a community gem, but has been one of the largest employers and supporters of our community for decades,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder after the reopening.
At its peak, the 65-year-old chocolatier group produced 20 million pounds of chocolate annually and garnered $40 million in total sales. Its eight kitchens produced about 100,000 pounds of chocolate a day.
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