Coke pops for Va. site

October 24, 1997


Staff Writer

Washington County apparently has lost out to Frederick County, Va., on a bid to lure a new bottling facility from Central Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Richmond, Va., according to local officials.

Dean Lowry, who handles land deals for the Washington County Engineering Department, said the county lost out to the Winchester, Va., area after Central Coca-Cola decided to invest its money in its home state despite recommendations from its own engineers to locate in Hagerstown.

Lee Christian, one of the owners of Central Coca-Cola, said Thursday he had no comment.

Lowry said the new facility would probably have cost from $12 million to $20 million and would have provided a customer for the county's underused Conococheague Industrial Pretreatment Facility. Lowry said he didn't know how many jobs the plant would have created.


Lowry said Washington County had an advantage because of its location, but said family-owned Central Coca-Cola wanted to stay closer to home.

"I think the sentiment among the family members was that they wanted to put something back into Virginia," he said.

Lowry held out hope that Coca-Cola might consider the county again in the future.

Sharon Disque, a coordinator for the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said she has been working with Central Coca-Cola for several years and on more than one project.

Disque said she could not comment on the specifics of the latest project.

The company had previously purchased and later sold land at the Interstate Industrial Park without building anything, Disque said. The company had also had let lapse options on land at the 70/81 Industrial Park. In May 1996, the company purchased a 52,500-square-foot building on 10.8 acres at 100 Western Maryland Parkway for $1.25 million from the Washington County Commissioners. Lowry said the company had spent about $700,000 upgrading that facility.

The firm also operates a facility off Jonathan Street in Hagerstown and has offices and space at Top Flight Air Park at the Washington County Regional Airport.

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