12/21/2011 AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott announced that Coca-Cola Refreshments is investing $99 million to expand its Main Street juice production facility in Auburndale. The expansion also includes adding 60 new jobs in Polk County with an average compensation above both the county and state averages.
“Coca-Cola’s choice of Auburndale for its expansion is a testament to the state’s supportive business environment and strong capabilities for serving corporate and manufacturing needs,” said Governor Scott. “It’s also an outcome of our city and county partners’ commitment to growing Florida’s manufacturing base to build a healthier economy.”
As part of the $99 million investment in the 720,000-square-foot facility, the company is adding another juice production line for Simply, one of Coca-Cola’s fastest growing brands. Additional facility improvements include manufacturing, telecommunications and technology upgrades, along with expanding the size of the facility more than 20 percent.
The State of Florida paved the way for the expansion by granting Polk County $400,000 from its Economic Development Transportation Fund for road infrastructure needs pertaining to the expansion. The state also awarded Coca-Cola with incentives from the Qualified Target Industry Fund, which if used in full, would value $180,000 in tax rebates, of which 20 percent will be provided by the City of Auburndale and Polk County.
“Through Coca-Cola’s public-private partnership with the State of Florida, Polk County and the City of Auburndale, we are putting more people to work and strengthening the local community,” said Troy Ellis, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing for Coca-Cola Refreshments. “While Coca-Cola is a global company, we are integral parts of the communities where we operate and our associates live and work. This investment strengthens our ties to Auburndale, Polk County and the State of Florida.”
Sam Johnson, chairman of the Board of Polk County Commissioners said, “Coca-Cola is a model corporate citizen in Polk County and we are thankful for the positive impact it has on our local community by putting people to work and investing in our community.”
Construction first began on Coca-Cola’s Main Street facility in June 2002, and production of Simply Orange started in the summer of 2003. Since breaking ground, Coca-Cola has invested more than $450 million, including this most recent announcement, to upgrade the facility and expand production capacity to meet consumer and customer demands. The 60 new jobs will be in addition to the 361 full-time associates Coca-Cola currently employs at its Main Street facility.
“We are so pleased that Coca-Cola Refreshments chose to expand operations here in Auburndale,” said the city’s mayor, Keith Cowie. “Coca-Cola has proven to be a great business neighbor to the Auburndale community. The jobs are so important to improving the economic climate here in Polk County.”
Polk County Manager Jim Freeman added that “especially during a time of high unemployment, we are grateful for companies like Coca-Cola, which continues to reinvest in our community and provide sustainable employment for our citizens. Coca-Cola’s commitment in Polk County matches our commitment to maintain a strong business climate.”
Coca-Cola employs more than 6,000 people throughout Florida in 34 facilities, including seven manufacturing plants and 15 distribution centers.
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