By Richard Sullins |

A commercial real estate firm based in Charlotte completed the purchase of two major distribution sites just off U.S. 1 in Sanford during the final quarter of 2022, including one at 1605 Hawkins Avenue that has served as home to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company’s operations here for nearly 50 years.

An LLC associated with Beacon Partners of Charlotte purchased two buildings on the Coca-Cola property for $3.374 million, according to a deed filed on November 30. The larger of the structures is a 32,114-square-foot distribution facility and the smaller 8,686-square-foot building is a flexible multi-purpose shop.

The company has been working with Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Company for the past several months on a new facility to be built in Chatham County. Plans were already in place to close down operations at the Sanford facility later in 2023 and the sale of the Hawkins Avenue properties will help streamline that process.

Coca-Cola announced plans last summer to phase out its facilities in Sanford and Durham in favor of a new 170,000-square-foot operation that will go up near the Wake and Chatham county at U.S. 64 and N.C. 751. The company said at the time it plans to move out of the Sanford and Durham buildings as soon as the new complex is ready, and that construction is scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2023.

The Sanford Coca-Company was started by the Ingram family in 1905. Its presence became an integral part of the city’s history in 1907 when an Art Deco building was constructed on Charlotte Avenue near what is now Depot Park. An expansion was done in 1920 and the company continued to operate from there until the 1970s, when it moved to the Hawkins Avenue location. Charles Ingram sold the company to a private firm in 2008 and Durham Coca-Cola Bottling later acquired the Sanford operations in 2017.

Beacon Partners purchased an even larger property on October 21 – a 100,000-square-foot facility located at 5100 Rex McLeod Drive for $4.34 million. The land sits between U.S. 15-501 North and U.S. 1 North just south of the Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center on Enterprise Park Drive near PCC Airfoils. It was last appraised at just over $3.8 million.

The building has been leased for several years by American Gifts from a company in Mexico that owns it. American Gifts creates “candyloon” arrangements commonly sold around Valentine’s Day, as well as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in chain stores across the southeast, including area Food Lion stores. Candyloons are gift packaging that includes candy, a balloon, and a small stuffed animal or toy.

A spokesperson for American Gifts told The Rant that the company plans to continue renting the facility from the new owners until further notice.