There is a sense of accomplishment and victory in completing a long term, successful project for one of your clients – especially when there are many moving parts involved. This was no easy task but with a great deal of hard work, marketing efforts, and a little bit of luck, we were able to complete the disposition of the former Allen Harim complex in Seaford, DE.
From their original founding in 1919, Seaford was home to the corporate offices of Allen Family Foods and eventually to the South Korean based Harim Group when they acquired the company and renamed it Allen Harim in 2014. At its founding, the site was likely somewhat rural on the outskirts of town. Legend even says that the original Mr. Clarence Allen hatched his first chicks in the family kitchen until his wife, worried about the risk of fire asked him to relocate. Shortly after he started hatching in the garage, it burned down.
As Seaford and the company grew, the corporate complex was smackdab in the heart of the city surrounded by residential homes and just minutes away from downtown. The original Allen homestead had grown into an 11,000 SF office building and was adjacent to a 50,000 SF hatchery, other offices, an IT building, and numerous other unimproved parcels.
As business needs changed and operations evolved, Allen Harim relocated their corporate headquarters to their Millsboro plant and expanded their onsite deboning operation – leaving behind a compilation of land and buildings.
We quickly learned the complex had been developed across multiple property lines and was being served by various shared utility lines and access points. Knowing that finding a single buyer for such a diverse property would be almost impossible, we retained Solutions IPEM and worked closely with city officials to develop a subdivision plan that made sense.
Oh, and did I mention that the entire property was now zoned residential? That further complicated our work.
After developing a plan to minimize the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, we were able to subdivide the property into 11 (yes 11) parcels allowing us to customize the offering based on a client’s needs. On top of these 11 parcels were an additional 8 residential lots or homes owned by Harim that needed to be sold. The Seaford complex served Allen Harim well over the years, but it was time for a change, and I was up for the task of listing the properties.
Over a period of three years, we have successfully sold off all 19 pieces of the Allen Harim complex. While many times a large corporation leaving a city can have a negative economic impact, each transaction has resulted in new business or new residential opportunities, contributing to the growth in the community.
The former corporate office building is now home to Little Sprouts Early Learning Center. The former IT building is now an active church, and the former hatchery will house an online motorcycle parts distributor, creating jobs and opportunity in the City of Seaford. The residential lots and other buildings will offer new housing opportunities in the beautiful residential area of town.
When one door closes, another door (or in this case doors), opens. It is exciting to see new opportunities and areas for growth, while businesses are transitioning to be able to serve their clients or customers at the highest level. I was pleased to represent Allen Harim in the disposition of each commercial piece of their former headquarters. We cooperated with several other commercial and residential brokerages to complete the assignment and get the assets sold.
Brian Hildreth, CFO of Allen Harim stated, “We were extremely pleased with John’s creative solution and tenacity in guiding us through this challenging process. His never quit attitude was a key in this long process.”
It was a pleasure to assist Allen Harim with their transition into Millsboro and I look forward to their future successes at their new home base while watching new businesses establish themselves and grow in Seaford.