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DFA buys T.G. Lee Diary warehouses in Orlando’s Milk District for $5.8M

A portion of the 200-foot-wide mural painted in dedication of the legacy of T.G. Lee Diary founder Thomas Gilbert Lee. The mural faces East Robinson Street in Orlando's Milk District.
A portion of the 200-foot-wide mural painted in dedication of the legacy of T.G. Lee Diary founder Thomas Gilbert Lee. The mural faces East Robinson Street in Orlando's Milk District.(Patrick Connolly / Orlando Sentinel)

T.G. Lee Dairy’s main plant in Orlando’s Milk District just traded hands for a little more than $5.8 million.

The deal for the 7.85-acre industrial site at 315 N. Bumby Ave. is part of Dean Foods merger with several U.S. dairy cooperatives that follows its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing in November.

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Dean Foods, the parent company of T.G. Lee Dairy, was a prominent player in the the U.S. milk processing industry, but struggled with a decline in milk demand as consumers purchase other milk alternatives more frequently.

The buyer, Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America, won the bankruptcy auction in April with a $433 million bid to purchase 44 dairy processing facilities across the nation, including the Orlando plant.

Background on the assemblage, and new detail on how two local associates want to repurpose a corner of Downtown Orlando.

The T.G. Lee factory along Bumby Avenue consists of four warehouses that date back to the mid 1950′s. In total, the T.G. Lee factory features more than 82,700 square feet of commercial space.

Its history in Orlando is credited for giving the neighborhood, known as the Milk District, its namesake.

The brand’s founder, Thomas Gilbert Lee, reportedly milked cows in a shack on North Bumby Avenue, near the present-day Orlando factory, before selling the company to Dean Foods before his death in 1986.

Last year, several artists commissioned by Florida Dairy Farmers, the state’s milk promotional organization, completed a 200-foot-wide mural on the property as a tribute to T.G. Lee and his legacy in the community.

In a company issued statement, Eric Beringause, president and CEO of Dean Foods, said the sale will enable its businesses to continue operating across the country.

Dean Foods also sold facilities in South Florida to Miami developer and investor Moishe Mana for $16.5 million. The deal includes the McArthur Dairy facility in Miami and distribution centers in West Palm Beach and Fort Myers.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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