Kellogg Buys Cereal City

May 4, 2007
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BATTLE CREEK — In what seems a most fitting move, Kellogg Co. announced it is purchasing the former Cereal CityUSA from the Heritage Center Foundation and plans to convert the building on site into office space.

Kellogg agreed to pay approximately $2 million for the CerealCity property at

171 W. Michigan Ave.
in downtown Battle Creek. The three-story building has roughly 50,000 square feet of space.

The nonprofit Heritage Center Foundation built the cereal-themed park as a tourist attraction in hopes of boosting economic activity downtown while educating visitors about the development and growth of the cereal industry in Battle Creek. The first two floors of the building were dedicated to exhibit space and offered a simulated tour of a miniature Kellogg's Corn Flakes production line, a cereal museum with lots of Kellogg's memorabilia, play areas, a restaurant and store.

When CerealCity opened in 1998, its supporters anticipated an average of 400,000 visitors a year, according to the foundation. But the park didn't attract even half that many visitors in its first year, and business fell off each subsequent year. Over the last five years it had average annual paid attendance of 84,000, which the foundation determined was well below the attendance necessary to sustain its operation.

The foundation closed CerealCity four months ago and enlisted the help of Battle Creek Unlimited, the city's economic development engine, to find alternative uses for the facility.

Cheryl Beard, chairperson of the foundation's board of directors was pleased to receive the purchase offer from Kellogg Co.

"This will allow the company to expand its presence in downtown, and it will return the building to productive use," Beard remarked. She said the formal closing should occur within 90 days.

At the company's recent shareholder meeting, President and CEO David Mackay told shareholders that the purchase of the CerealCity property meets two of Kellogg's needs.

"First, it helps us meet our current and long-term needs for office space, and, second, it's consistent with our commitment to play a positive role in the economic vitality of downtown Battle Creek," Mackay said. His comments were greeted with thunderous applause.

Mackay said no decisions have been made as to which employees might be moved into the facility or when that might happen.

"I want to thank Cheryl Beard from Battle Creek Unlimited, along with many other individuals, for their hard work in making this happen," he added.

With 2006 sales of nearly $11 billion, Kellogg Co. is the world's leading producer of cereal and of convenience foods such as cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit snacks, frozen waffles and veggie foods. The company's brands include Kellogg's, Keebler, Pop-Tarts, Eggo, Cheez-It, Club, Nutri-Grain, Rice Krispies, All-Bran, Special K, Mini-Wheats, Chips Deluxe, Sandies, Morningstar Farms, Famous Amos and Kashi. Kellogg products are manufactured in 17 countries and marketed in more than 180 countries around the world.    

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