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Developer to Buy Cookie Factory

Jemal saw an opportunity. "I like old buildings," he says. "And it's large." The white, six-story building sits on 7.5 acres near the intersection of Broad Street and the Boulevard. Jemal says he plans to turn it into a mixed-use development of retail, office and residential space — what he calls a "life center."

The cookie factory will be the latest addition to a portfolio of Richmond buildings owned by Jemal's company, Douglas Development. In 2002, he bought the former First Union Bank headquarters at 7 N. Eighth St., and in April he acquired the distinctive Central National Bank building at 219 E. Broad St. "I like the historical character of the old buildings in Richmond," Jemal says.

The city recently assessed the factory's value at $927,300. It's not known how much the property will sell for; Councilman Bill Pantele says he understands that Jemal has the property under contract for about $8 million.

The redevelopment of the factory, Pantele says, "will certainly continue what is a pretty rapid transformation of the Scott's Addition area." In the grid of brick warehouses and industrial properties north of Broad and west of the Boulevard, he says, "there's a lot going on. Big deals, a lot of adaptive reuse, a lot of housing — I mean in the hundreds of units."

Interbake, which operates nine bakeries throughout the country and in Costa Rica, is a major supplier of Girl Scout cookies and ice cream novelties.

On breezy days, the tantalizing scent of baking cookies (and occasionally, the nose-wrinkling odor of burnt batter) wafts along Broad Street and throughout the Fan.

Pantele says he's heard more than one person say, only partially kidding, "that it would sure be nice if we could buy a lifetime supply of Glade cookie scent." — Melissa Scott Sinclair

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