BY LUIS GRONDA
A longtime bakery factory in Queens is packing its bags and moving to south Jersey.
Junior’s Cheesecake announced last week that it is relocating its Maspeth factory to New Jersey later this year.
The cheesecake giant is reportedly making the move for two primary reasons: a bigger space and cheaper rent.
Its owner, Alan Rosen, said in published reports that rent has become too expensive for their business in the five Boroughs, which has become more focused on affordable housing since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office and the new space will offer them more room to operate. Rosen did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
The new facility in Burlington, N.J. is 100,000 sq. ft., compared to the 20,000 sq. ft. at its soon-to-be former home at 58-42 Maurice Ave.
A few years ago, Junior’s Cheesecake was among the businesses in opposition of the City Department of Transportation’s Maspeth Bypass plan, which eventually changed the street direction of Maurice Ave to one-way and forced trucks using that area to use a different route to move its products.
The bypass was meant to steer Brooklyn-bound truck traffic away from Grand and Flushing avenues through a more industrial part of Maspeth.
Junior’s opposed the move because it would make truck deliveries more difficult for the company and it would force them to leave their product outside for a longer period of time, which they claimed could become problematic during the summer months.
Jean Tanler, head of the Maspeth Industrial Business Zone, which the Junior’s factory lies in, said she believes the bypass issue was a contributing factor to their departure.
“I know that they were looking to grow and there are some limitations for that property,” Tanler said.
Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5, said he is unsure how the bypass decision affected Junior’s after the change was made, as the Board never heard from them regarding that issue, but he said they were loudly against it back then.
The space Junior’s will leave behind should not be too difficult to fill, Giordano said, though he believes a company, or companies, that lack a temperature sensitive product like cheesecake should move into the building.
Tanler said it is a “tight market” for manufacturing and industrial companies right now because of the focus on finding properties to build affordable housing. The City Council will soon hold a public hearing on the “Engines of Opportunity” report, which aims to change zoning laws to benefit those industries.
“We’re at a point where the zoning needs to be modernized for manufacturing companies,” Tanler said.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.