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Published: Tuesday, 10/28/2008

Pepsi sets $12 million expansion in Toledo

BLADE STAFF

Toledo's Pepsi-Cola bottling plant is about to become one of three nationwide to undergo a $12.5 million expansion to allow it to simultaneously produce and fill new one-gallon containers of a variety of Lipton brand ice teas.

Mike Collins, region manager for PepsiAmericas Inc., said every Pepsi plant was vying for the new bottling line. Toledo has not officially been named a recipient, but it seems all but certain it will get the work: Blow-molding machinery recently arrived and is being unpacked, Mr. Collins said.

On the new line, the Toledo plant will for the first time make plastic bottles rather than just receive and fill them. Once the line is operational, which is likely before the end of the year, the Toledo plant is to supply one-gallon Lipton teas to the entire eastern U.S. market.

The project will create 25 jobs as well as preserve 246.

Yesterday the plant, at 3245 Hill Ave., was awarded a 45 percent job creation and retention tax credit from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority. The six-year tax credit has an estimated value of $65,209, and under its terms Pepsi must maintain its Toledo operations for 12 years.

Additionally, Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner yesterday announced the city has proposed a tax credit package valued at $50,500 over six years to assist the plant with the new container line.

In addition, the Ohio Department of Development is providing a $45,000 grant.

Mr. Finkbeiner said that although Pepsi had not threatened to leave Toledo, other cities, such as Cleveland, have made the mistake of not investing in existing business, confident that they would never leave until it was too late to stop them from moving.



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