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July 26, 2019

With baseball coming to the Canal District, Table Talk Pies begins search for new property 

Photo | TMS Aerial Solutions Table Talk Pies' sprawling facility in Worcester's Canal District, with trucks regularly coming and going, may not fit into the future of the neighborhood, with visions for more pedestrian-friendly streets.

Worcester dessert manufacturer Table Talk Pies is looking to relocate its 140,000-square-foot facility in Kelley Square as space and real estate become a premium with the impending construction of the $101-million Polar Park baseball stadium. 

The company is intent on ensuring a smooth relationship with the city and minor league team Worcester Red Sox during the construction phase, but coexisting past construction will be difficult, said Harry Kokkinis, president of the snack pie company. 

Photo | Sam Bonacci
Harry Kokkinis, president of Table Talk Pies, at the groundbreaking of the company's 50,000-square-foot facility in 2016 at the South Worcester Industrial Park.

“I do think it would be good if we could find a facility in Worcester or land where we could build to meet our needs,” Kokkinis said. “That’s what we’re looking for right now.”

Kokkinis who indicated moving wasn’t a final decision, said the company is leaning toward a move. Regardless, the company has begun reaching out to property owners to inquire about other sites. 

In April, the pie maker told WBJ the company was beginning to consider its future in the Canal District. Kokkinis said then very preliminary discussions were held regarding interest in the factory from Boston developer Denis Dowdle and the team. 

Neither the city nor the team could immediately be reached for comment. 

The city and team announced last August the overall $240-million project with the ballpark, a mixed-use development and an overhaul of Kelley Square. The 10,000-capacity ballpark will be built on the former Wyman-Gordon land will closely abut the company’s manufacturing facility. In fact, a sharply hit foul ball to right field could end up on the company’s property if it clears the stands. 

Kokkinis, like many in Worcester, sees the economic and cultural benefits to having the Triple A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox move to Worcester. Table Talk has even become a founding sponsor of the team. 

However, the logistical challenges have already manifested when the city and team held a ceremonial groundbreaking. Parking lots typically used by Table Talk workers were full and traffic made it difficult for the company’s trucks to leave the property. 

“The area was inundated,” Kokkinis said. “It was a great event and it was great that so many people turned out, but I think it gave us a little taste of what game day might be like.”

The city says it has essentially secured the rights to all of the land it needs via eminent domain or an agreed-upon price. Table Talk offices in a smaller building Washington Street were a casualty of that process, but the main 120 Washington St. facility wasn’t included on that list. 

A new facility built by the company in 2017 on Southgate Street gave Kokkinis and the company an idea of what working on a modern manufacturing facility would be like, so moving from the three-floor, 74-year-old building was already an option. 

“The facility has been performing very well and that’s sort of gotten our attention on the value of having something all on one floor and long enough to have our pie line in a straight line,” he said. 

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July 29, 2019

I will miss having Table talk on Water St. I grew up in the Vernon Hill area and lived most of my life there. No matter where you go, you will be missed at the Kelly Square area

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