Though not completed, a Starbucks Coffee Co. plant is already running in south Augusta.
Starbucks officials said Thursday that about 70 employees have been hired and that packaging operations started in October at the Augusta Corporate Park facility.
Starbucks broke ground on the $172 million manufacturing plant in July 2012. Workers will produce Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, the company’s line of instant coffee.
The company still needs to hire another 70 employees. Starbucks hasn’t identified a date when VIA production will begin and the plant will be complete, other than to say it will be this year.
The plant will be Starbucks’ fifth manufacturing facility in the U.S. and will result in jobs being moved from overseas.
The Seattle-based company employs about 182,000 people worldwide. It has a warehouse and distribution center in Atlanta and a roasting facility in Sandy Run, S.C.