Mitsubishi Chemical America


A Japanese-owned chemical conglomerate needed help relocating business units, expanding facilities, and disposing of 120 acres in a densely populated infill location. The company had no in-house real-estate experience, and the project landed in the lap of the outgoing CEO as a swan-song project. The project had many stakeholders, both within the company and the community, but they were voicing differing opinions.


Cardinal implemented its Comprehensive Asset Sale™ process by gaining a thorough understanding of the company’s goals, fears, and business strengths.

Cardinal then completed the Due Diligence 360™, a 221-point checklist with surveys, a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment, wetlands delineations, and utility letters.

Cardinal engaged a civil engineer and local brokers, and 90 days later had offers from 11 developers. Two of Mitsubishi’s portfolio companies would continue manufacturing at the site, while the balance of the 120 acres would be sold for retail and 1.2 million SF of speculative warehouse space.


As one of the top chemical companies in the world, Mitsubishi Chemical manufactures everything from golf-club shafts to soda-bottle labels. But they are not real estate experts.

For more than 50 years, Mitsubishi Chemical America (MCA) had its North American operations in Chesapeake, Va. When they purchased the site it was farmland, and the city rapidly grew around it. MCA was a long-term
corporate citizen and a major employer. But as the city grew closer, it became apparent the chemical company needed to make changes.

Economic developers approached MCA leadership and pointed out the highest and best use of the land was for retail and a technology park. The company agreed but didn’t know how to proceed, so the CEO reached out to
Cardinal for consulting services.

Sensitivity Mitsubishi Chemical fiercely protects its brand
Multiple stakeholders City officials, community leaders, and company presidents were involved
Cultural differences Different time zones and real-estate customs required special arrangements
Many specialties Construction, demolition, entitlements, brokerage, and relocations experts were required

Project Highlights

National marketing
Received 11 offers in 60 days

Stakeholder buy-in

Achieved buy-in from leaders in Japan and North America, plus city stakeholders

No surprises

Identified potential deal-killing site issues before going to market using Cardinal’s Due Diligence 360™️
Handling the day-to-day sale of a complex $30M infill land tract was new to me. I had retired as CEO and was asked to handle the sale as my last project. There were stakeholders inside and outside the company, and some political risks for the company. I quickly realized that I was going to need help to do this without getting overwhelmed. Mitsubishi Chemical is a huge Japanese conglomerate. So it goes without saying that we are a company with a lot of diversity. We are accustomed to hiring consultants as experts for everything from financial to technical issues and manufacturing-productivity improvements, always considering options to get outside input. But this was the first time, except for a traditional broker situation, the first time we had done so on real estate, and I would highly recommend the approach. Cardinal understood the culture and became a vital part of our team. I discovered I was much more comfortable working with a small firm. I knew that John would be accountable and that my project would not be delegated to another. And I felt it was much better to have someone I was paying as a consultant to be an advocate versus only making their money based on a sale.
Dennis Trice, retired President and CEO, MCA
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