Tortilla Factory a Step Closer to Opening

This building on Crescent Avenue is now a restaurant supply, but it is the latest attempt by Chelsea's Cinco de Mayo Foods to find a home for their new tortilla factory.

Though it’s not yet all wrapped up, a tortilla factory’s proposal on Crescent Avenue received an important approval last week in its quest to locate in Chelsea.

But there’s not yet time for a siesta, as the company has one more fiesta scheduled before the Zoning Board this month.

This is the second go-around for Cinco de Mayo Mexican Foods, a company that has been operating in Chelsea for years, in their bid to launch a new factory in Chelsea. Previously, they fought a long battle to locate on the Chelsea Waterfront, but were batted back by numerous concerned residents who did not warm up to the idea at all.

That defeat opened up the newest bid on 224 Crescent Ave. near the Mary Burke School Complex. Currently, a restaurant supply business occupies the 23,000 sq. ft. space, but they are scheduled to leave and building owner Ed Swansburg is arguing to let the tortilla factory locate there.

That reality came one step closer on Aug. 23 when the Planning Board gave a positive recommendation to the plan, but with conditions that including adding employee parking to an adjacent lot.

Other conditions included limiting loading hours and coordinating with the nearby school to avoid gridlock during pick-up and drop-off.

However, despite the location being zoned as light industrial, Chelsea has changed tremendously and this historically industrial area is now lined with brand new lofts and residences.

And some of the occupants of those new spaces aren’t so keen on a busy factory next door.

The tortilla factory is but a stone’s throw from the new Spencer Lofts, and it is also but a block from the One Webster Place that is under construction. With that in play, similar concerns that existed on the Waterfront are surfacing.

One neighbor has submitted a letter of opposition to the City, pretty much stating that the proposal would change the character of the new neighborhood and also bring in truck traffic.

“I know our neighborhood is much newer and less historic than that of the Waterfront, but as we grow and become more and more of a residential neighborhood, I don’t see that a tortilla factory is the right answer for the space,” wrote Lindsey Cimochowski, a resident of the Spencer Lofts.

On the flip side, the economy is floundering in Chelsea and everywhere else and the tortilla proposal promises 40 new manufacturing jobs on the site. It is also a company that has typically employed Chelsea residents first.

The proposal’s specifics are that they would be putting three ovens in the facility that would exhaust through the roof and would not produce any noise.

For truck traffic, they would require the regular movement of two, 24-foot delivery trucks and, once a week, would require a large trailer truck delivery bringing ingredients for the tortillas.

The factory would require two manufacturing shifts, one running from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the second running from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Zoning Board will discuss the matter on Sept. 13th at City Hall.

4 comments for “Tortilla Factory a Step Closer to Opening

  1. Anonymous
    September 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    There is a lagre contingent form Spencer Lofts and the surrounding neighborhood planning to be at the meeting in opposition to the plan. The residents of this neighborhood, the city of Chelsea, and the state of MA, have put a lot of money and effort into this neighborhood. With One Webster and Spencer Row both new and the active and involved citizens at Spencer we will be working hard to keep this out of our residential neighborhood. We don’t want the traffic, smells, rodents, or a variance for over half of their required parking. NOT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!

  2. Anonymous
    September 6, 2011 at 10:42 am

    As a resident who lives (and owns their home) near the new planned site I appreciate that this factory would provide some jobs to Chelsea residents.  That said, it would also make the neighborhood smell like burnt corn and significantly hurt the property values of numerous nearby residential properties (old and new).  The people who have bought into this neighborhood aren’t getting rich off their investment.  They aren’t planning to flip their property in a couple years and move on.  Many of us plan to live here in Chelsea for a very long time.  My wife and I love it here and want to see the neighborhood cleaned up and improving.  We’re thrilled when new businesses open up and hope that a business can be found to occupy the space opening up in the building on Crescent Avenue.  We would like a business that won’t have a significant negative impact on the neighborhood though.  It isn’t like this building is removed from residences.  People live just around the corner from where the picture in this article was taken.

  3. September 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Why doesn’t this damn tortilla company jsut look for a place in the fruit distribution area, another industrial site, out of this city? The owners obviously are looking out for their best interest; they just want the cheap immigrant labor and real estate that is here.  The landlord on Crescent ave can careless as well, all he/she wants is a long term lease. 

    Lets all stand together and turn this city around.  We are sitting on a exploited real estate gold mind.  There are many other ways of attracting tax revenue to Chelsea; lets stand against businesses that affect our quality of life.  

    Chelsea is a stones throw away from a technology and Biological hub.  Mr Ash lets lure those types of business to Chelsea.  We are 3 Miles from 3rd most expensive city in the country, there are thousand of professionals that would relocate to this town if Chelsea image would slightly change.  

    For those of you old enough to remember the transformation of the South End and East Cambrige would know that the make up of the city and Real Estate value sky rocked after the factories closed down. 



  4. Anonymous
    September 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I get the arguements of local residents, but on the other hand realize this:

    The company is going to bring jobs to the city and provide income for those without a job. It will create some revenue for the city of Chelsea. There are tons of people out there that complain from the lack of job creation and when you have an opportunity to create some, you just want to drive them away.

    Their old operations building that use to be behind the chelsea police station did not produce foul odors or create a chaos as everyone is claiming.

    Im not defending anyone, but I am thinking of the opportunity for many with this new location and if the CORRECT standards are put in place, it can be a win/win situation.

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