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Florida distillery to invest $120M for new canning plant at Winter Haven industrial park

Florida Caribbean Distillers will buy 77.5 acres of newly rezoned industrial land from the City of Winter Haven to build a new aluminum can manufacturing facility.
Florida Caribbean Distillers will buy 77.5 acres of newly rezoned industrial land from the City of Winter Haven to build a new aluminum can manufacturing facility. (City of Winter Haven)

Florida Caribbean Distillers is buying Winter Haven surplus property for $3.29 million to build a $120 million aluminum can production plant. FCD, owned by Miami-based CC1 Companies, expects to start manufacturing in 2021 with capacity of 1.6 billion cans and 2.4 billion ends (lids).

“This is very important for Winter Haven and very important for Polk County,” Winter Haven Economic Development Council President Bruce Lyon told GrowthSpotter.

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The Winter Haven City Commission approved the land sale in a special meeting on Dec. 4, and on Dec. 9 voted to rezone the property to allow the industrial development. Commissioners also approved a Qualified Target Industry incentive package of up to $55,000 in job tax credits to be paid over four years.

FCD’s plant – to be called Florida Can Manufacturing – will add about 160 jobs in its first phase, with 110 of those paying at least 115 percent above Polk County’s average annual wage of $41,047, Lyon said. The plant could eventually add as many as 500 direct jobs with Florida Caribbean Distillers’ plans for a three-phase project that could yield approximately 800,000 square feet of advanced manufacturing. Initial economic impact of this project is anticipated to exceed $120 million in 2020-21, according to the EDC.

The rezoning could add another 2 million square feet of industrial entitlements to the rail hub at Florida's Gateway.

The canned-beverage industry is global beverage cans market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth) of 3.8% through 2023, according to a beverage cans market research report released Thursday. The metal cans market was valued at $52.21 billion in 2018, according to market researcher Mordor Intelligence.

Demand is up for more recyclable products for beverages. Beer, soft drinks, ready-to-drink (RTD) tea and coffee, juices and even water and wine are available in cans today. Aluminum cans are 100% recyclable and get turned back into themselves, unlike plastic. Florida Caribbean Distillers will seize upon that market and take advantage of the land’s proximity to the CSX Intermodal Terminal for bringing in aluminum and shipping cans, Lyon said.

The city has 203 acres considered surplus land adjacent to a utility plant, 2,100 feet west of the CSX railroad tracks. The appraised value of entire parcel is $5,400,000, according to city documents. FCD is buying 77.5 acres of that land located along Pollard Road, 12th Street East, Logistics Parkway and the CSX facility known as Florida’s Gateway. The property is designated as a Opportunity Zone – a special tax treatment designation intended to attract investment.

“It’s a major advanced manufacturing operation,” Sean Byers, Winter Haven senior planner, told GrowthSpotter. The last significant advanced manufacturing operation to enter Winter Haven was Forterra Pipe & Precast more than 10 years ago, he said.

This video of a similar operation owned by FDC Haven was included in a presentation to the city commission.

The plant “definitely fits into our goal,” Byer said. Advanced manufacturing is one of the industries the EDC has been working to attract, Byers said. “We’re working on a variety of different strategies around economic development planning … advanced manufacturing is one of them.” Winter Haven - with close to 45,000 residents - is the fastest growing city in Polk County, compounding more than 4% in each of the past two years, Byers said.

FCD parent company CC1, founded and chaired by Miami businessman Carlos de la Cruz, claims Coca Cola Puerto Rico Bottlers as a subsidiary. FCD is a familiar name in Polk County - with storage and rum-aging facilities already in Winter Haven, a winery and bottling facility in Auburndale and distilleries in Lake Alfred and Auburndale.

Calls to General Manager Jose Rivera weren’t returned.

“Construction activities are anticipated to create over 275 jobs and in addition to the 160 direct jobs created by the Potential Buyer’s operations, approximately 4,200 indirect jobs are projected to be added in the County over a 20-year period, for an average of 200 indirect jobs per year. The first phase of this project has the potential to create approximately $25 million in disposable personal income each year through 2038,” the EDC reported on its Web site.

The project’s first phase will be construction of a 300,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility that will be used for aluminum can production. FCD expects to break ground on the new facility in 2020, with completion expected in 2021, Byers said.

GrowthSpotter reporter Laura Kinsler contributed to this report.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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