Hayward industrial site where Berkeley Farms once operated is bought

HAYWARD — An industrial site in Hayward where Berkeley Farms once operated has been bought for more than $100 million, a deal that suggests some Bay Area commercial real estate properties can still attract eager buyers.

The property, located at 25500 Clawiter Road in Hayward, was bought for $103 million, documents filed on Jan. 23 with the Alameda County Recorder’s Office show.

The just-bought site is known as LogistiCenter at Highway 92, a two-building logistics and industrial complex that totals 353,600 square feet, according to a marketing brochure being floated by JLL, a commercial real estate firm.

PGIM, the global investment unit of insurance behemoth Prudential Financial, acting through an affiliate, bought the Hayward property, county and state government public records show.

New Jersey-based PGIM bought the modern industrial complex through an all-cash deal.

Dermody Properties sold the logistics center to the PGIM affiliate, according to the Alameda County real estate documents. Dermody, a Nevada-based real estate firm, developed two logistics and industrial buildings on the property.

One building totals 232,600 square feet and the other totals 121,000 square feet, the JLL property brochure states.

The 21-acre property is near the interchange of State Route 92 and Clawiter Road and the eastern approaches to the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.

The deal suggests that modern industrial, logistics, manufacturing and research buildings in good Bay Area locations can still entice tenants and investors. This is in sharp contrast to the office markets in this region and nationwide that are being haunted by empty buildings and weak rents.

In 2020, Dermody paid $48.2 million for the site, which for decades was the local operation for Berkeley Farms, a well-known Bay Area milk producer and dairy brand. Dermody demolished the Berkeley Farms building and replaced it with the logistics center.

Dermody’s purchase occurred a few months after Berkeley Farms closed its doors and ceased operations earlier that year.

Berkeley Farms was forced out of business due to complications caused by the bankruptcy of its owner, Dean Foods.

Dean Foods claimed at the time that it had attempted, but failed, to find a buyer for Berkeley Farms.

In 1998, Berkeley Farms sold its operations and real estate holdings to Dean Foods and operated as a subsidiary for more than two decades.

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John Sabbate, an immigrant from France who worked on a dairy farm in California, founded Berkeley Farms in 1910. The business originated as South Berkeley Creamery and was initially based in Berkeley.

The dairy company was the author of a memorable advertising campaign that asked the question “Farms in Berkeley?”, a query answered by a cow’s moo.

Mel Blanc, the multi-voiced television and radio personality who was the voice for cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Tweety Pie, was also the voice for the Berkeley Farms commercial.

Oakland-based Harvest Properties is working with the Prudential investment unit to guide the future of the Hayward logistics complex, the Alameda County documents show. Harvest Properties is a veteran real estate firm with a strong track record of landing tenants for commercial real estate properties.

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