Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Co., the distributor of Coca-Cola products across Iowa, is planning to expand and centralize its Quad-City operation with a new warehouse in Walcott at the Interstate 80 exit.  

The privately-owned Atlantic Bottling Co. plans to relocate its distribution facility from southwest Rock Island to a new $8 million warehouse facility to be built south of the I-80 intersection. The 100,000-square-foot building will be built on an 8.575-acre parcel of what is now farmland. It will be located south of Walcott CB and Walcott's water plant, Walcott City Clerk Lisa Rickertsen said Thursday.

She said the ground is owned by the Iowa 80 Group and Avery Land & Farming, which will develop and own the building. The city currently is negotiating a development agreement with Iowa 80 Group including a tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement. The project will receive a property tax rebate over five years on the new value of the improved ground, Rickertsen said.

The rebate amount, which will be on a sliding scale, has not been determined, she said. But she estimated the maximum rebate will be between $450,000 and $500,000.

Rob Feeney, Atlantic Bottling's president and chief operating officer, said Walcott was chosen for its location as well as the easy highway access.  He said the site will get its trucks closer to Interstate 80 as well as 18 miles closer to its production facility in Atlantic, Iowa. The company's home office also is in Atlantic. 

Feeney said the new project, which has not been finalized, will relocate the company's existing 143-person work force from Rock Island and no new jobs are planned. Its current warehouse is at 4415 85th Ave. West in the Southwest Rock Island Industrial Park.   

The new facility will include a larger warehouse and yard area for trucks as well as smaller office space and triple the number of docks, he said. "A lot of daily transport loads go (from the Quad-Cities) to Dubuque and Cedar Rapids." 

He added that the company's lease on the Rock Island facility runs out in 2019 when the new building is expected to be complete. "It's been a good run there. This (new warehouse) is a facility we can grow into and if we grow more, we can do it in that facility too."    

Rickertsen said the Walcott City Council recently rezoned 27 acres, including the parcel for the warehouse, from Suburban Agriculture, SA, to Commercial Interstate, or C-3. A third reading is scheduled for the June 18. In addition, the final plat will go to the city's Planning and Zoning Board at its June 11 meeting.

The project also received state financial assistance last month after the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board approved a capital investment package of $240,900 for a sales tax rebate for construction materials. 

"We're looking forward to them coming here and establishing roots in Walcott," Rickertsen said. "It will bring more jobs here, a lot more people and increase our tax base as well as taxes for the whole county." 

The new facility comes nearly two years after Atlantic Bottling announced it reached a deal with the Coca-Cola Co. to expand its territory distribution rights across the state of Iowa, including the Quad-City region. Feeney said the transaction expanded the family-owned company from two Iowa locations in Atlantic and Waukee to nine facilities, including Rock Island. Since then, the company outgrew the Waukee facilty and relocated to its newly acquired building in Des Moines, which serves as one of its hubs. 

The 109-year-old Atlantic Bottling traces its roots to Frank "Perk" Tyler's ice cream and ice business in Villisca, Iowa. His sons expanded the business in 1915 into soda production and by 1929 had acquired the franchise rights for Atlantic to bottle and distribute Coca-Cola.

The company's current Chairman and CEO Kirk Tyler is a third-generation owner and great grandson of Perk.

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