Fried chicken, tacos and pizza are helping resurrect the stillborn Corning Inc. site in west Oklahoma City.
Franchise Food Service plans to move into its new, larger, cooler space in mid-August, said Jeff McLinn, director of distribution services. Growth in KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell franchises in south and east Texas made the move and expansion necessary, he said.
The food distributor will take 85,000 square feet of the 121,750-square-foot warehouse-distribution center under construction at 500 N Sara Road by Gardner-Tanenbaum Group, he said. Franchise Food now occupies 55,000 square feet at 400 N Ann Arbor.
Franchise Food has the new space under a 10-year lease that Klaus Realty’s Terry Klaus negotiated with Richard Tanenbaum of Gardner-Tanenbaum Group, which is constructing the warehouse center in a build-to-suit deal with Franchise Food.
It’s an especially visible transaction because of the high-flying plans Corning had for the site, a 192-acre parcel where it started a $400 million fiber-optic manufacturing plant and three smaller buildings in late 2000.
The tech bust on Wall Street caused Corning’s fortunes to tank, however, leaving the partly built skeletal remains, highly visible from Interstate 40, as Oklahoma City’s most prominent wreckage from the technology collapse.
Tanenbaum said he’s working to fill the remainder of the space in the new building.
“We have two prospects out there, both of them out of town, one a California group setting up here, and one a Texas group that has a small facility here,” he said.
Other deals in the works for the former Corning site include retail along I-40 frontage, an office park utilizing the steel structure and more industrial in back, Tanenbaum said.
The heart of the office component, called West Gate One, will be a 185,000-square-foot office building, he said. Tim Strange of Sperry Van Ness is handling leasing.