Bissinger’s Chocolatier says it hopes to begin renovations on a riverfront warehouse in mid-November so a new headquarters would be operational by summer 2014.
CEO Tim Fogerty says the company has applied for historic tax credits and is in the process of finalizing plans with the state.
In August, Bissinger’s bought the historic building at 1600 North Broadway for $4 million with plans to spend another $8 million to renovate the building.
When complete, the former rail depot will house the corporate headquarters, chocolate factory, and a rooftop event space that will offer views of the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River.
The new building will include a retail store and an opportunity for visitors to take tours, by appointment.
“Our customers can come by and see it. If you haven’t seen chocolate being made, it’s really fun. It’s fun to watch,” said Fogerty.
The company plans to start moving equipment into the new building in February or March.
Bissinger’s bought an Iowa-based chocolate maker last year and will move its equipment to St Louis for the expansion. A handful of employees from Iowa are expected to move to St. Louis, but Fogerty says Bissinger’s expects to hire 75 to 100 new employees in St. Louis over the next five years.
Employees at Bissinger’s current headquarters will make the move to the riverfront in north St. Louis. The company is selling its previous headquarters off of Vandeventer just south of I-64.
Public incentives will be used for the expansion. Along with New Market Tax Credits, the city has agreed to freeze the current property tax rate at the new site for the next ten years. Bissinger’s is also applying for historic preservation tax credits.
“As we grow, I think you’ll see more and more businesses develop between highway 70 and the bridge and you’ll see more and more activity there,” said Fogerty.