By Colin McEvoy
Keurig Dr Pepper will operate a manufacturing facility at the site of the former Kraft-Heinz plant in Upper Macungie Township, creating 378 new jobs over the next three years.
Keurig Dr Pepper will operate a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution facility at the site of the former Kraft-Heinz plant in Upper Macungie Township, a project that will create nearly 400 new full-time jobs in Lehigh Valley.
The company will invest $219.7 million into the new 1.5 million square-foot facility in the Park 100 Logistics Center, and has pledged to create at least 378 new jobs over the next three years, according to Keurig Dr Pepper and the office of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
“We welcome Keurig Dr Pepper to the large cluster of national food, beverage, and pet food producers that call the Lehigh Valley home,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).
“With the growing demand in the Lehigh Valley market, we had little doubt that the Kraft property would be quickly reused after its closure due to the Heinz merger,” Cunningham said. “We are grateful for the support of the state, the township, and the Lehigh County Authority to help make the deal possible.”
The nationally-recognized brand’s move into Lehigh Valley is another example of the remarkable growth of the region’s food and beverage processing sector, which has been identified as one of the region’s four optimal target industries. In 2015, Lehigh County had more beverage manufacturing companies than any of the other 66 counties in Pennsylvania.
“The Lehigh Valley has become widely identifiable as a region that produces high-value manufactured goods, with a quality labor force and the regional assets necessary to attract the talent for tomorrow,” said Matthew Tuerk, LVEDC Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing. “We’re grateful for the state’s support and Keurig Dr Pepper’s investment in our region and in this key component of our overall $7.4 billion manufacturing sector.”
Fernando Cortes, Keurig Dr Pepper Chief Supply Chain Officer, said the company is focused on building an integrated, best-in-class manufacturing network that supports the production of all beverages in all categories.
“Our new facility in Lehigh Valley and additional supply chain investments in existing facilities support our vision for providing a beverage for every consumer,” Cortes said. “We are excited to become part of the Lehigh Valley community as we continue to invest in new and exciting opportunities for growth.”
When Kraft-Heinz closed its 908,000 square-foot facility in 2016, Cunningham and LVEDC expressed optimism that the site would find another use quickly.
The closing was the result of Heinz’s acquisition of and merger with Kraft, and was not the result of a market trend or the regional economy, Cunningham said. Additionally, the site is in the prime food and beverage corridor with quick access to Interstate 78, rail service and access to pre-treatment wastewater facilities.
“My administration has been committed to finding the right company to utilize this site, and we are proud that Keurig Dr Pepper has agreed to expand its operations and create new jobs in the commonwealth,” Wolf said. “Today’s announcement is great news for the Lehigh Valley region.”
Keurig Dr Pepper received a funding proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for a $1.5 million Pennsylvania First grant, $170,100 in WEDnetPA funding for worker training, and $1.1 million in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of new jobs.
The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania. LVEDC coordinates with the team on a regular basis.
Keurig Dr Pepper has a portfolio of more than 125 owned, licensed, partner and allied brands, including soft drinks like Dr Pepper, 7UP, A&W Root Beer, Canada Dry, and Sunkist; coffees like Green Mountain, Caribou Coffee, Laughing Man, and Van Houtte; and teas and waters like Bai, Beja Blue, Evian, and Schweppes.
The company’s Lehigh Valley facility will provide additional capacity for existing and new brands and will help optimize logistics in the Northeast by providing large-scale warehouse operations. The project includes leasehold improvements, building infrastructure costs, acquisition of equipment, computer equipment and software, furniture, and training.
Keurig Dr Pepper will be accepting applications for positions at the new project later this month at at the company’s website.