EXCLUSIVE: Global candy maker moving warehouse operations to huge NKY building

Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc., the maker of Airheads and Mentos, has signed a lease for half of Erlanger Commerce Center I, where the company will relocate its warehousing operations.

Perfetti Van Melle signed a lease for about 390,000 square feet of space in the building located at 650 Erlanger Road. Stephanie Creech, spokeswoman for Perfetti Van Melle, said the company needed the additional space to support the continued growth of its U.S. business.

“We plan to continue this growth,” Creech said in an email responding to my questions.

The new facility that is being developed by a joint venture of Hillwood and Al Neyer will replace Perfetti Van Melle’s current Hebron warehouse, which is located at 1765 Worldwide Blvd. Perfetti Van Melle will move its current Hebron employees to this facility and the company expects to hire additional employees in the future.

Creech said the new facility will be operated mainly as a distribution center for finished goods, as well as for raw and packaging materials. The company also will continue to have some repacking operations on this facility.

“This facility is conveniently located close to our Erlanger manufacturing facility, providing us with expanded warehousing and shipping capabilities, as well as direct access to major highways to reach key customers,” Creech said.

In 2017, Perfetti Van Melle invested $11 million to increase production in Erlanger, where it manufactures Airheads and Mentos products, and add 50 jobs to its workforce. It grew in personnel by 20 percent and now employs more than 360.

Josh Young and Si Pitstick with Newmark Knight Frank represented Perfetti Van Melle in the lease. Mike Lowe and Jeremy Kraus with CBRE represented the landlord.

Erlanger Commerce Center I is a more than 779,700-square-foot cross-docked distribution building. Another 389,860 square feet is still available in the building.

Perfetti Van Melle will join Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, which plans to open the 300,000-square-foot facility on about 32 acres in Erlanger Commerce Center.

Privately owned Perfetti Van Melle was founded in 2001 through the merger of Perfetti SpA and Van Melle Group B.V. Today, Perfetti Van Melle employs 18,000 employees worldwide and is one of the largest confectionery groups, manufacturing sugar confectionery and chewing gum products in more than 150 countries. Perfetti Van Melle USA reported 2017 revenue of $500 million.

Perfetti Van Melle USA opened in Boone County in 1984 as the confectionery manufacturing, sales and U.S. headquarters operation of global confectionery company Perfetti Van Melle. The group has corporate headquarters in Italy and the Netherlands.

Perfetti Van Melle expects to move into the Erlanger facility in the first quarter of 2019.