One of the country's largest Coca-Cola bottlers is closing its Raleigh distribution operations and opening a larger facility in Clayton.
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated will abandon its 90,000 square-foot facility on S. Wilmington St. in Raleigh that was built in 1957. The company is replacing it by leasing a 233,000 square-foot center on Shotwell Road, just off U.S. 70 in Clayton.
The company expects to shift its 184 local workers to the new facility in May.
"All of our employees are thrilled to have a modern facility with a footprint designed for efficient distribution," said Lauren Steele, a spokesman at Coca-Cola Consolidated's Charlotte headquarters.
The larger facility won't mean any new jobs, for now. "Clearly, we have a long-term vision and have every intention in making the types of investments out there that will lead to job gains in the future," Steele said.
The company considered other sites in the Triangle, or building its own facility. But leasing the Clayton building, which previously was a distribution center for grocer Winn-Dixie, was a "perfect fit," Steele said.
Several other corporations also are expanding their operations in the Johnston County town, including Caterpillar, Talecris and Novo Nordisk. Northeast Foods is building a hamburger-bun bakery on U.S. 70 that's expected to employ about 60 people.
"Businesses are finding out we're a good location with a great quality of life," said Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod. "Clayton is making a name in the logistics business and we are seeing signs that the economy is moving in the right direction."
Clayton didn't offer any incentives or financial assistance to attract Coca-Cola Consolidated, McLeod said.
The company will spend about $3 million on renovations at the facility, Steele said.
The new facility will serve retailers, restaurants and other customers in Wake, Johnston, Franklin, Harnett, Orange and Chatham counties. Another bottler distributes Coke products in Durham and parts of Orange county.
Coca-Cola Consolidated is seeking a buyer for its Raleigh facility on S. Wilmington St.
"We're hoping the economy improves and someone will want to invest in a good site, with great access to downtown," Steele said.
The company employs more than 2,800 people in North Carolina. Its shares fell 6 cents to $55.23 this morning, and are down about 3 percent in the past year.