New Aluminum Can Manufacturing Facility Will Bring Up to 500 Jobs and Millions in Economic Impact To Winter Haven
Editors Note: The Chamber of Commerce is excited to support our partners in the City of Winter Haven and the Winter Haven Economic Development Council for their outside-of-the-box thinking to bring this project to this point. To find the excess City land, adjacent to the ILC property, was the perfect fit for the company and helps the City earn substantial additional ad valorem revenue annually. The hard work, innovative thinking and collaboration of many entities including the City, WHEDC, FDOT, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-9), CFDC, CFRPC, Enterprise Florida, DEP, Polk County BOCC and many others will give this community economic opportunity for many years to come. While there are still steps that need to be taken before this project becomes a reality, the vote the City Commission took on December 4 is a pivotal step forward in the expansion of manufacturing in our community.
Previously code named "Project Sugar Cane", Florida Caribbean Distillers, a local manufacturing and distilling company, has plans for a three-phase project that could yield approximately 800,000 square feet of advanced manufacturing, and a potential creation of more than 500 new jobs. To facilitate the project, on December 4, 2019, the Winter Haven City Commission approved the sale of surplus city-owned property to the company, which currently has facilities in Winter Haven, Lake Alfred, Auburndale, and Puerto Rico.
Mike Herr, Winter Haven City Manager, was pleased that the City Commission approved the sale. “Winter Haven City Commissioners continue to make jobs and economic development a priority,” Herr said. “In addition to bringing revenue to the city, this project will also bring high-paying jobs to our area.” Mayor Brad Dantzler echoed those sentiments, stating, “The opportunity to have this new facility, and the jobs it will bring, fits with the overall initiative of the Commission to bring higher paying jobs in high tech industries to our community.”
United States Representative Darren Soto (FL-09) also supports bringing higher paying jobs to our area and stands ready to support companies wanting to do that. “I am pleased to see the continuing development of jobs in Winter Haven,” Representative Soto said. “As one of my biggest priorities, the creation of new job opportunities is a necessity in order to improve quality of life. This project will not only ensure economic growth with higher paying jobs, but it will also lead in attracting new business opportunities in the City of Winter Haven. It is imperative that we continue to push for higher quality jobs and to invest in the constituents of Polk County.”
Earlier in 2019, City staff and Winter Haven Economic Development Council (WHEDC) President Bruce Lyon met with company representatives to discuss this opportunity. “Because of the unique attributes of CSX and other transportation corridors in this area, City goals are strategically aligned for projects of this type,” Lyon said. “Once again, City of Winter Haven Commissioners and leadership have exhibited the vision to approve plans and projects for our community that will bring quality jobs and economic impact.”
The company anticipates breaking ground on the new facility in 2020, with completion expected in 2021.
The property is perfect for this particular type of product being directly adjacent to the intermodal logistics center, with easy access to rail. A representative from Florida Caribbean Distillers stated on Wednesday night that they will heavily rely on rail transport both for import of raw materials and export of finished product. Outside of the ideal location, this property falls with an Industrial Development Zone, a Freight Logistics Zone and an Opportunity Zone, each developed through the work of the City, WHEDC, Chamber and state and federal agencies.
This project begins to fulfill the vision of this area in our community. It also supports a goal to attract more than distribution but to actually manufacture and export product from Winter Haven and the State of Florida.
For an example of one of their facilities watch the YouTube video below.