East Bay candy factory sells its property to big real estate investor

HAYWARD — A candy manufacturer that was founded 70 years ago by a Russian immigrant has sold its Hayward headquarters and factory property to a New York investment group, public records show.

Annabelle Candy Co. has sold several parcels in Hayward, including the site of its factory and head offices, to an affiliate led by Fortress Investment Group, an investment firm with a global reach.

Fortress Investment, acting through affiliate CREF3 Industrial Blvd Owner, paid Annabelle Candy Co. $13 million for the property, according to documents filed on Dec. 20 with the Alameda County Recorder’s Office.

Annabelle Candy has a long history in the East Bay. Founded in Hayward in 1950, the company’s product stable features several high-profile candy bars: Rocky Road, Abba-Zaba, Big Hunk, Look and U-No.

Annabelle Candy Co. main Hayward complex at 27211 Industrial Blvd. (LoopNet)

“Legendary candy bars” is now Annabelle Candy describes the confections on its website.

The property is located at 27211 Industrial Blvd. in Hayward, about a block from West Tennyson Road.

The Fortress affiliate bought the property from Annabelle Candy and several individuals, Nathan Gogol, Amanda Karl and a family trust headed by Susan Gamson Karl. Members of the Gogol family and the Karl family have been linked over numerous years to leadership positions with Annabelle Candy. As recently as 2018, Gary Gogol was chief executive officer of Annabelle Candy.

What isn’t clear is the site’s future as envisioned by the property’s new owner.

Victor Marquez, current president and former plant manager at Annabelle Candy Co., didn’t respond to several phone calls from this news organization.

Annabelle Candy Co. at 27211 Industrial Blvd. near Tennyson Road in Hayward, shown within the outline. Boundaries are approximate. (Google Maps)

New York City-based Fortress Investment Group was asked to provide a comment about the situation.

Fortress Investment has been purchasing properties in recent months at a brisk clip, according to property records in the Bay Area. The global investment manager has $54.2 billion in assets under management.

Annabelle Candy constructed the current candy factory on Industrial Boulevard in Hayward in 1965. The company says that all of its products are produced at the just-sold site.

Company founder Sam Altshuler, an immigrant from Belarus, a then-province of Russia, arrived in the United States in 1917, according to the company’s website.

Altshuler began his involvement in the confectionary business by selling candy bars from a pushcart outside movie theaters. In 1950, Altshuler founded the candy company in San Francisco, naming the company after his daughter Annabelle.

Altshuler moved the candy company to the Hayward site where the current candy factory was constructed in 1965.