A local investment firm has acquired the former Dart Container Corp. cup factory on Wrightsboro Road for $4 million.

An Augusta-based investment group has purchased the former Dart Container Corp. plant for $4 million and intends to market the Wrightsboro Road property to manufacturing and distribution tenants.

The sale of the 382,000-square-foot building – known for the iconic 40-foot-tall cup over its front doors – was announced Thursday by Sherman & Hemstreet Real Estate, which represented the buyer.

The sprawling complex had been on the market for $5 million since Dart vacated the disposable cup factory and distribution center in December 2019. The Michigan-based company announced in 2017 it would begin shifting polystyrene cup production to its Toronto plant.

The purchaser, Hock Development Co., has redeveloped several other large industrial properties in the metro area, including the former Quad/Graphics printing plant and distribution facility in Evans and a 300,000-square-foot building in the Forward Augusta Industrial Park in south Augusta.

The investment group is headed by Bill Hock and his son Charles, who also is a vice president at Sherman & Hemstreet.

The firm’s marketing brochure says the building, whose warehouse area includes 12 loading docks and covered rail access, can be subdivided into spaces as small as 50,000 square feet. The nearly 16-acre tract has 120 parking spaces and 34 container spaces.

“The demand for industrial space in Augusta remains strong and leasing volume has remained steady despite the COVID crisis,” Sherman & Hemstreet President Joe Edge said in a news release announcing the sale. “We are very optimistic that Augusta will continue to see strong industrial growth fueled by our strong employment base and infrastructure in the region.”

Edge said the new owners plan to keep the building’s iconic cup-shaped entryway at the intersection of Wrightsboro Road and Druid Park Avenue intact.

The plant was built in 1947 by Lily-Tulip Co., a maker of disposable cups then based in New York. Augusta business leaders, including representatives from Sherman & Hemstreet, recruited Lily-Tulip’s headquarters from Toledo, Ohio, to downtown Augusta in 1984.

The main office was moved just two years later when Lily-Tulip was acquired by Wisconsin-based Fort Howard Paper Co. The plant has had multiple owners – including Sweetheart Cup Co. and Solo Cup Co. – since paper cup production at the plant ceased in the 1980s.

The plant’s primary product had been the “Trophy” line of hot/cold beverage cups, one of the world’s biggest-selling disposable drink containers from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

Dart had operated the plant since its 2012 acquisition of Solo Cup. Approximately 160 employees worked at the plant when Dart announced the closure in late 2017.

An aerial view shows the former Dart Container Corp. cup factory on Wrightsboro Road. The 382,000-square-foot building has been purchased by a local investment group for $4 million. [SPECIAL/HOCK DEVELOPMENT CO.]

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