Frito Lay has hit the brakes on its plans for a $130 million high-tech service center that would bring 200 high-paying jobs to Osceola County.
The snack food giant announced the plans last August for a 286,000-square-foot automated distribution plant on 75 acres across from the Poinciana SunRail station. At the time, company officials said they planned to start construction in 2019 and open in 2021. The property is just north of the company's existing Gatorade plant and is already owned by parent company PepsiCo.
Company officials confirmed the delay to GrowthSpotter, issuing the following statement:
“Frito-Lay is committed to the project in Osceola County, and legal title to the property will be transferred to Frito-Lay this quarter. We don't have final timing yet around the construction and site start-up, but we should have an update in fall 2019.”
UPDATE: The property transfer was recorded in Osceola County on April 9 at a $10.55 million valuation. PepsiCo's Quaker Foods division bought the property in 2007 for $9 million.
Osceola County first learned of the delay last fall, when Kathy Alfano, PepsiCo's senior director for economic development, asked the Board of Commissioners to postpone any action on their requested property tax abatements.
The delay coincided with the October retirement of longtime PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, who led the Fortune 500 corporation for 12 years. The transition led to speculation of a potential shakeup that would split the drinks and snack food divisions into separate companies.
The Frito Lay project isn't the only big development in the area to stall. Last December Disney paid $23 million for the BK Ranch property, an approved master-planned community entitled for thousands of new homes, to use for environmental and wetlands mitigation.
And Taylor Morrison Homes, successor to AV Homes, is currently marketing an 82-acre mixed-use project just north of the SunRail station that was planned for nearly 330 homes and townhomes.
A residential community just north of the Frito Lay does appear to be moving forward. Hanover Land Co. filed plans last month for a 502-home subdivision on the 150-acre site.