Robinson Mayor Roger Pethtel today announced the city has received official notice that Pepsi MidAmerica will build its new distribution center here.
"We are pleased to inform you that we will move forward with the construction of a new state-of-the art Pepsi MidAmerica Customer Service Center within the Ridgeway Industrial Park," said a letter from Larry Chambers, vice president of fleet and facilities for the Marion-based company.
"We sincerely appreciate your support, the City of Robinson, members of the City Council and the Crawford County Development Association's assistance with our endeavor and we look forward to working together with you and your team to make this project a reality," Chambers continued.
"... We are extremely excited with the opportunity to establish long-term relationships in your community," he said.
"I was tickled," Pethtel said when he received the notification.
Pepsi plans to build on 17 acres donated by the Robinson Chamber of Commerce. Groundbreaking will be in late March or early April, weather permitting.
The center will not be fully operational until this time next year, Pethtel said.
Preparations for construction will begin soon. Chambers said Pepsi will work with its general contractor and engineering firm, A&K Construction, to begin the design phase.
He also asked Pethtel for a list of local contractors and suppliers the company could use during the $2.5- to $3-million project.
Initially, the company plans to hire 25 people. That could increase to 50 within two or three years.
Pethtel said besides the new jobs and financial investment, the project brings Pepsi's reputation for community involvement. The company already does much here, he said, and now that will just increase.
CCDA Executive Director Alex Pleasant agreed, calling Pepsi MidAmerica a "great corporate citizen."
"That's the kind of company they are," he said. "In other communities they are in, they are key community players. That's what we expect here."
Pleasant said he was excited by the news. "It's a phenomenal thing for the community," he said.
Building the new center will mark something of a homecoming for Pepsi. The industrial park is behind Hershey, a facility that began as a Pepsi bottling plant owned by L.S. Heath and Sons.
A former distribution center, in Gordon Junction, was donated by Pepsi MidAmerica to Lincoln Trail College in 1992. The LTC South Campus is home to the college's telecommunications program.
Local government and economic development entities worked to bring Pepsi back.
The industrial park is in both a Tax Increment Financing District and the Robinson Enterprise Zone. This makes the center eligible for sales tax abatements on materials purchased locally. It also makes it eligible for possible property tax abatements.
Pleasant explained that such abatements - which are subject to approval by taxing bodies - only apply to improvements made on the parcel. Local taxing bodies will still receive taxes they have been getting from the undeveloped land. Taxes on the improvements will begin coming in when the abatements end after a few years.
The city also agreed to pay for certain infrastructure improvements at the site, Plesant said, such as utility access and a fiber optic line to allow high-speed broadband service.