ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
The Necco Candy Factory on American Legion Highway in Revere.
By THOMAS GRILLO
REVERE — The factory that made candy for those with a sweet tooth could soon be a manufacturing hub for robotics.
Framingham-based Atlantic Management Corp. and VMD Cos. of North Andover has purchased Necco, the 170-year-old candy company, and its 55-acre headquarters on American Legion Highway for $54.5 million.
The deal has already benefitted the city in a big way, according to Mayor Brian Arrigo. He said Atlantic has shown it wants to partner with Revere.
“Atlantic paid more than $3 million Necco owed in back taxes and water and sewer bills,” he said. “They also donated $15,000 for the Sand Sculpting Festival. Atlantic sees the value and potential in the city and want to invest a significant amount of money here.”
Necco is best known for its Necco Wafers, Clark and Sky Bars, Mary Janes, Squirrel Nut Zippers and the Valentine Sweethearts. They moved to Revere from Cambridge in 2003. Their lease on the 830,000-square-foot space expires next summer.
It’s unclear what will happen to Necco when the lease is up. Arrigo said while his and Atlantic’s vision for the property includes robotics, biotech and laboratory space, there’s enough room to continue making sweets.
“A year ago we were talking about a slot parlor coming to Revere with some questionable investors,” he said. “My long term vision for the city building a new economy is happening.”
Last fall, voters overwhelming rejected a slot parlor near the Suffolk Downs race track.
Atlantic CEO Joseph Zink said his company was attracted to Revere because of its proximity to Boston and Logan International Airport, and the city’s access to the MBTA.
“We are also excited about the city’s vision to bring biotech, robotics, and e-commerce to the city and we want to build a partnership with them,” he said.
Necco CEO Michael McGee could not be reached for comment.
Thomas Grillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.