Site work has begun on a Flowers Foods distribution center and small bakery outlet in Tavares, set on 4.32 acres at the intersection of U.S. 441 and Nelson Street.
The parcel, originally planned as a site for a church, sat vacant for sale through the recession. City officials learned last August that a bakery distribution center with a small retail outlet was being considered, with an estimated 30 jobs to be created.
On May 25, Church Extension Plan Inc. of Oregon sold the vacant parcel for $547,400 to Sage Leesburg LLC, an affiliate of JoMar Companies in Clearwater, according to Lake County property records.
Jody Shirley ofJoMar confirmed the purchase and the site work, but declined comment on what the plans for the land include, citing her clients' privacy preference.
JoMar, a diversified real estate development company that specializes in commercial and industrial construction, has built and renovated two Flowers distribution centers in Haines City and East Tampa, according to its website.
Since the Flowers family opened its first bakery in 1919, the business has become one of the largest producers of packaged bakery foods in the United States, according to its website.
The company operates more than 40 highly efficient bakeries that produce a wide range of baked goods for retail and food-service customers in the U.S. Flowers, with its headquarters in Thomasville, Georgia, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange as FLO.
The company's top brands are Nature's Own, Wonder and Tastykake.
Jacques Skutt, Tavares community development director, said the city has approved the permit for site work, but doesn't have a building plan for the project yet.
Last year, at the land owner's request, the parcel, which was zoned Commercial on one side and Residential on the other, was rezoned Commercial for the entire site.
Flowers Foods did not respond to requests for comment.