Kraft plant closure to cost San Leandro 130 jobs

- When the two biggest names in packaged foods -- Kraft and Heinz -- merged a few months ago, cuts were widely expected. And now, those cuts are hitting the Bay Area.

The company announced Wednesday that it is closing the factory on Halcyon Drive in San Leandro.

It's one of  seven plants in the U.S. and Canada shuttering over the next two years, as part of a plan to cut operating costs by $1.5 billion.

A total of 2,600 jobs will be eliminated, including 130 in San Leandro.

Kraft built the sprawling 100,000 square foot facility in 1950.

"It's a distinctive part of the community and something that San Leandrans take pride in," said San Leandro's Business Development Manager Jeff Kay.

The plant has made various brands over the years and is currently producing Yuban coffee.

"There's 130 individuals employed at that facility and that's our most immediate concern," Kay said.

The city plans to provide resources to laid off employees and help them find new positions. The city will also start work immediately to find a new tenant for the massive complex.

Kay believes there's going to be "a lot" of interest.

"It's difficult to find a property of this size, 27 acres, in the inner Bay Area," Kay said.

He added that in San Leandro's industrial real estate market, the vacancy rate is low, at just 2 percent.

"I get a lot of phone calls from companies that want to be here and I can't find anywhere to put them," he said. "Having additional space, there's certainly a positive side to that."

And Kay believes that demand will lead to a new opportunity at this corner in San Leandro.

"I'm not worried about reasonably quickly being able to find a good productive use and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we ultimately have many more than 130 jobs there at that property," he said.

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