Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Search Challenge (October 19, 2011): Who owns that piece of land?

The salt flats of south San Francisco bay are hard to believe when you first see them.  They're vast geometric shapes that are often bizarre colors--red, maroon, yellow, green--depending on the time of year as you fly overhead.  They change color depending on what kind of halophlic creature is currently living in the water.  As the sun evaporates the bay water, the salinity goes up, and a variety of animals take over at different degrees of saltiness.  

They're also very controversial as they're the remnant of the marshlands and estuaries that once supported millions of migrating birds (and local, year-round fauna).  But they were diked a long time ago, and the question these days is how to best use the marshlands.  

A key player in these controversies over land-use policy is the giant chemical manufacturer Cargill.  They've been in the bay for a long time, and own many of the salt evaporation ponds around the bay.  

The other day as I flew into SFO, I passed over the south bay, and looking down from my window, I couldn't help but notice that one salt manufacturing facility looked slightly different than the others.  I later found its GPS coordinates, 37.518372, -122.032700‎  (aka: +37° 31' 6.14", -122° 1' 57.72" ) and tried to look up which branch of Cargill actually owned that site.  

Question for today:  Can you figure out which branch of Cargill owns that location?  

Search on!


  1. Found on wikimapia:

    Morton Salt (Newark)
    7380 Morton Avenue
    Newark, CA 94560-4200
    Telephone: (510) 797-2281

    The colored ponds near here are filled with different concentrations of salt water. The bluer and greener ponds have low levels of salt, just having been pumped in from the Bay. The redder ponds have higher concentrations of salt, the color coming fron halophyllic or salt loving bacteria and algae living in the ponds. The organisms actually help the salt to dry faster, The white ponds are dry salt ready for harvest.

  2. agreed, merely searching the lat/long in google maps is enough to figure out that this is Morton Salt

  3. Tried searching the Alameda County tax assessor's maps, only to find out that in California it's against the law to include a parcel's owner in the online tax records. First time I've ever seen that before.

  4. Found by doing a simple Google Maps search for the cords. It was kindly marked by Google as Morton Salt.,+-122.032700&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x808fbf26748901ab:0xc1b6c4c00b02749a,%2B37%C2%B0+31'+6.44%22,+-122%C2%B0+1'+58.44%22&gl=us&ei=hFKgToymD4SjtgfKkKmPBQ&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CBwQ8gEwAA

  5. It is Cargill Salt - San Francisco Bay
    Key string - "CA 94560"

  6. I found the same answer as Hans in about 1 minute. A more traditional way to find that out though would be to find out what town that is in, and then call the local library to find out what that parcel of land is zoned for and who the owner/occupying tenant is.

  7. While there is indeed a Morton Salt at that location, I believe there is a Cargill Salt facility adjacent.

  8. Morton Salt.
    Assessors Office list the value of the property

  9. Googled what county Newark, CA belonged to. Found County website. Found property information page.

    From the assessors page. Done by using the map provided and zooming to the same parcel, and using the assessors tool to identify parcel.

    APN: 537-751-6-3
    Property Address: 7380 MORTON AVE, NEWARK 94560

    Currect CA law removes the owner information from online, but past records indicate Morton International Inc as the Assessee name

    Although another site i found idicated it was leased from Cargill to Morton. So i would think its owned by the Cargill Salt division.

  10. says this

    "From Assessment Roll
    Morton Salt Inc
    123 N Wacker Dr
    Chicago Il 60606"

    Which means property tax bills go to Morton Salt. But sometimes a lessee will pay the taxes, not the owner.

  11. Compared Google map to assessors map. Came up with same APN as @Ken Mott.

    Ran parcel number on RealQuest (subscription property research site)which shows owner of record as:
    Morton Salt, Inc.
    123 N. Wacker Drive
    Chicago, IL 60606-1743
    c/o: Real Estate Dept.
    (312) 263-0679

  12. I did a street view search and zoomed in on the sign in the parking lot, took about 30 seconds. Morton Salt (on Morton rd no less)

  13. the address is 7380 Morton Avenue, Newark, CA 94560

    Current owner: Morton Salt Inc
    Current tenants: Morton Salt Inc, Dow Chemical Company

    Building size: 18,599 SF one story
    Built: 1966 (Masonry)
    Acreage total: 2.41 Acres

    Tax ID/ADN: 537 -0751-006-03, 537 -0751-006-04

    Tax info: $1,152,000 Assessed Value, $14,974.18 Taxes

    Block no. 50
    Zoning: 320

    Morton salt has owned the property since at least 1997 but changed and updated their tax number on record in 2/11

    Mortons corp address is 123 N Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

    Contact info:
    1st Contact Jim Oswald, Manager
    2nd Contact Thomas Archibald, Vice-President
    3rd Contact Philip Lewis, Vice-President

    phone: (510) 796-6943

    other tenant: Dow Chemical Company
    address of corp. same as Morton Salt
    contact phone: (510) 797-2281

    on site being manufacturer by Dow - Industrial inorganic chemicals

    on site being manufactured by Morton Salt - Space propulsion units and parts (???why???)

    website for Morton salt inc -

  14. Found by searching: "salt plant newark central ave"

    Then, by way of K+S Group (, found:

    Center for Land Use Interpretation

  15. Oh that info took 3 google searches.

    one for Latitude And Longitude convertor got address

    Second I searched the address for the owner got Morton Salt Inc

    Third Corporation Name + Address search = all the tax and business info.

  16. These these 1,433 acres are woned by Cargill, DMB Associates & The Federal Goverenment (you own a piece of it).

    This deal will turn Cargill's old salt harvesting site into somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000 homes. Under the banner of the "50/50 Balanced Plan," Arizona-based DMB Associates is planning to develop half of the salt-harvesting site, while restoring the other half to open space use and tidal marshes. This is all happening on a $200 million site that Cargill held onto after selling most of its other salt land to government agencies that plan to restore shoreline habitats.

  17. Morton Salt in California seems to be a research and mining facility.

    Potash, Soda, and Borate.

    Rohm and Haas and Dow both are tenants and owned by Morton Salt Inc. Chemical and Fertilizer are manufactured on site.

    Some chemicals are used in space propulsion systems

  18. Cargill Salt Company
    NEWARK, CA 94560-4205
    EPA Registry Id: 110000483325

  19. Cargill Salt lists it as their location on their website:

    It's the central location for their Bay Area operations, apparently. Any questions or concerns you have about their environmental impact can be answered by reaching out to people at that facility. Interesting stuff!

  20. Morton Salt - Newark Facility

  21. Morton and Cargill are neighbours.
    See and
    7380 Morton Avenue Newark CA 94560 and 7220 Central Avenue Newark CA 94560
    Parcel: 537-751-6-4 and 537-751-7-1 (check: )

  22. Morton Salt. Google Maps will show you this...

    Morton Salt‎
    7380 Morton Avenue
    Newark, CA 94560-4225
    (510) 797-2281‎

    and Morton Salt confirms this on their job site.

  23. i zoomed in and did street view to the marque sign that said "Morton Salt - Newark Facility"