By Joshua Burd
The latest thing that Trenton makes? Try Munchkins.
That may soon be the case under a proposal by a team of Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees. A nearly $17 million project calls for redeveloping two buildings in the city into a new 69,000-square-foot central bakery plant, serving more than 130 stores in the region and producing hundreds of thousands of doughnuts and other products every week.
The plan, which involves the Trentonian building on Perry Street and an adjacent warehouse, was vetted by state officials recently as part of an application to an incentive program. On Friday, the Economic Development Authority approved a 10-year, $18.9 million tax credit for the facility.
The project is expected to generate 171 new full-time jobs, according to the state authority.
EDA documents say the principal owners, Paresh Patel and Alexander McCourt, plan to purchase 600 Perry St. and 39 Escher St. and begin construction in spring 2017. Their plans call for renovating both buildings and constructing a third in order to connect the structures, resulting in a single 69,625-square-foot building that would be completed by next fall.
The franchisees are pursuing the project under a venture known as Central Jersey CML LLC.
“It was created due to the overwhelming amount of Dunkin Donut retail locations opening up in the area,” EDA officials wrote in a memo to board members. “Central Jersey is a market solution to providing both finished and unfinished donuts, as well as other bakery products to its member retail locations throughout the Central New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware marketplaces.”
Principals with Central Jersey CML could not immediately be reached late Tuesday afternoon, but a report by the Trentonian said its acquisition of the property is still being finalized. The publication reported on the project on Tuesday after Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson announced the plans at a MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce event in the city.
The story said the asking price is $2 million, including both buildings. The newspaper’s management said the tax credit was only the first step in the transaction, while property owner Twenty Lake Holdings did not reply to a request for comment from the publication.
The Trentonian has occupied the Perry Street building since 1965, the report said, though its staff now takes up only 25 percent of the building. The city tabloid is exploring a relocation.
Central Jersey CML, which also operates a facility in South Jersey, told state officials it considered an alternative location in Falls Township, Pennsylvania. The EDA determined the Trenton location was the more expensive option, resulting in the board’s approval for incentives.
The authority estimates the project would have a net benefit to the state of $1.9 million over 30 years. Central Jersey CML would not receive any of its annual tax credits until the state certifies that it has met its commitments for job creation and capital investment.