Bob Evans Farms Inc. announced the sale of its headquarters building in Columbus, Ohio, as well as two Ohio food production facilities, to New Mill Capital LLC, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in repositioning closed corporate facilities. It also provided an update on its BEST to Invest in Ohio initiative, which details major investments in the company’s home state.

Bob Evans total investment in the State of Ohio now tallies $187 million dollars over several years. Bob Evans acquired Lima-based foods production plant Kettle Creations in August 2012, and in the fall began a nearly $27 million expansion that will double the size of the facility by adding 50,000 square feet. The company anticipates that the expansion will create 70 new jobs by 2015.

In addition, Bob Evans announced earlier this year that it was accelerating its Farm Fresh Refresh remodeling program. At the close of the company’s fiscal year at the end of April 2013, it will have remodeled 180 of its Ohio restaurants at the end of this fiscal year for a total investment of $43 million.

“We’re increasing our investments in the great state of Ohio,” says Bob Evans Farms chairman and CEO Steve Davis. “We’ve proudly unveiled a fresh new look at nearly all our Ohio restaurants, we’re doubling the size of our newly acquired foods plant in Lima, and we’ve taken positive steps toward a bright future for our corporate facility and two production plants in Springfield and Bidwell, thanks to the deal with New Mill.”

The 77,000 square foot headquarters building at 3766 South High Street in Columbus is one of the last buildings on the company’s almost 40-acre campus to be sold, following the company’s March 2011 announcement that it was moving to New Albany, Ohio. Only a trucking facility on the property remains to be sold at the long-time Bob Evans campus.

A plot of land on Obetz Road behind the company’s adjacent Bob Evans restaurant at 3800 South High Street in Columbus was recently sold to A+ Children’s Academy, which plans to expand its educational facilities.

The food production facilities sold to New Mill Capital are located in Springfield and Bidwell, Ohio. In May 2012, the company announced plans for the consolidation of its Foods business and stated its intent to close the Bidwell and Springfield plants in late 2013. The 43,700 square foot Bidwell plant sits on 7.8 acres and manufactures cooked sausage patties and links. The 38,200 square foot Springfield plant sits on 10.7 acres and manufactures sausage, soups and gravies. Bob Evans will lease the plants from New Mill until a final closing date is announced in late 2013.

“It is our intention that our headquarters and two plants will remain thriving entities in their respective communities,” says Joe Eulberg, the Bob Evans executive responsible for the campus initiative. “We believe that New Mill Capital will be a strategic and solid partner, investing in these communities and properties to realize their full future potential.”

“New Mill Capital has a vast amount of experience repurposing properties such as the ones we have purchased from Bob Evans,” says Gregory Schain, executive vice president for New Mill Capital. “We are investing in these properties because we are bullish on the economic outlook in these areas and the potential these properties hold for future tenancy. We are committed to investing the resources necessary to make these properties as functional as possible for modern use and look forward to working with local civic and business leaders to once again make these properties economic engines in their respective communities.”

In June 2012, Bob Evans sold its 3700 South High Street building in Columbus to the growing online school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), and outparcels along South High to former lessees. Prior to announcing the move to New Albany, there were approximately 700 jobs on the Bob Evans campus. Now, based on plans and projections by the new owners, including New Mill, ECOT and A+ Children’s Academy, it is anticipated that there may be as many as 900 jobs overall at the site, which is in line with Bob Evans’ goal to maintain or increase employment opportunities following its move.

“We’re pleased to have secured a bright future for the South High Street campus, making good on our promise to ‘leave with the lights on’, and ensuring growth potential for the neighborhood we have called home for decades,” says Eulberg.

Source: Bob Evans Farms Inc.