Starbucks plans $172 million Augusta plant

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 12:35 PM
Last updated 6:06 PM
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Starbucks Coffee Co. will be the first tenant in the Augusta Corporate Park with a $172 million plant, expected to create more than 140 jobs.

The new Augusta plant, Starbucks' fifth manufacturing facility in the United States, will be the company's first owned and operated facility in the world to produce soluble products, such as VIA Ready Brew, ingredients for Frappuccino and many of Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
The new Augusta plant, Starbucks' fifth manufacturing facility in the United States, will be the company's first owned and operated facility in the world to produce soluble products, such as VIA Ready Brew, ingredients for Frappuccino and many of Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages.

The Augusta Economic Development Authority announced Wednesday that Starbucks will build a 110,000- to 160,000-square-foot plant, which will occupy 100 acres in the Augusta Corporate Park, a 1,500 acre site off Mike Padgett Highway.

Construction will begin this spring and the plant is expected to open in January 2014.

The new Augusta plant, Starbucks’ fifth manufacturing facility in the United States, will be the company’s first owned and operated facility in the world to produce soluble products, such as VIA Ready Brew, ingredients for Frappuccino and many of Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages. Those products are currently produced outside the U.S., Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said.

The plant will prepare and package ingredients and finished products for most of the company’s soluble-based beverages for all of North America and parts of Europe, according to a news release.

“With an abundance of skilled workers, a great quality of life, convenient access to transportation that is critical to our business and strong support from local and state leaders, Augusta is an ideal location for our newest manufacturing facility in the U.S. We’re proud to be expanding our connection with the Augusta community and to be creating American manufacturing jobs during such challenging economic times,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO.

At Wednesday’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle, Schultz said it would have been more cost-effective to have the products manufactured outside the U.S., but the decision to build the Augusta plant came from a commitment to American manufacturing.

“The economics of it showed that it would be cheaper to build outside of the U.S. but it meant more to us to build in the U.S.,” he said.

Starbucks was looking at two other locations, said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the development authority, and the project has been in talks about nine months.

“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Sprouse said. “We worked really hard for this one.”

He said the deciding factors for the company were the high caliber of the Augusta-area workforce and the existing logistics infrastructure with the Georgia Ports Authority’s Savannah operations.

“It kept coming back to workforce and training,” Sprouse said. “I can’t say enough about the roles Augusta Technical College, Augusta State University and Paine College had in this thing.”

Augusta officials didn’t schedule a news conference about the announcement because they had already planned to be in Atlanta to talk with lawmakers, including a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal.

Deal started his comments to the combined group from the chambers of commerce from Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties by beaming over a Starbucks shopping bag with a souvenir mug for him.

“Obviously, you already know of our success getting Starbucks to come to the Augusta area,” he said. “Any time you get a $172 million investment and 140 jobs that is good news for our state and certainly moving in the right direction.”

He said the Starbucks announcement was emblematic of developments in the state, such as last week’s groundbreaking by Caterpillar for a bulldozer plant in Athens. He is pushing legislation that he says would lure companies with tax cuts and a larger incentive fund.

Clinching the Starbucks deal was $600,000 in local improvements that local officials agreed to supply, such as grading, water and sewer lines and other infrastructure improvements. The company also qualified under state law for employee training, job credits, and tax credits for using the Port of Savannah to import its supplies and to export to England its finished product.

Thinning the trees at the Augusta Corporate Park made the site more attractive, especially to a company that tries to minimize its environmental impact, Sprouse said.

Augusta industrial recruiters hope that image will help them attract other companies with a similar orientation.

“We’re delighted to have a global company like Starbucks coming to the community,” said Henry Ingram, the chairman of the development authority.

The plant will be a great addition to the Augusta economy and community, Sprouse said, with a wide range of skilled jobs in a state-of-the-art facility.

“They are very environmentally conscious, and it’s a good, solid company with a tremendous reputation,” he said.

Hutson said the nearest of the four existing Starbucks plants is in Sandy Run, S.C., where they roast coffee beans.

The Augusta Corporate Park site was donated to the authority in 1993 by the Kimberly-Clark Corp., which once had planned to build a pulpwood facility to supply its Beech Island plant.

Morris News Service reporter Walter Jones contributed to this article.

Comments (49) Add comment
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iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/21/12 - 12:46 pm
1
0
COUNTYMAN!
Unpublished

COUNTYMAN!

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 03/21/12 - 12:52 pm
1
1
Can I be a taste tester? :)

Can I be a taste tester? :)

Just My Opinion
5704
Points
Just My Opinion 03/21/12 - 12:52 pm
2
0
Well, frankly I don't drink

Well, frankly I don't drink coffee at all, but this is GREAT news for Augusta! Everybody should be happy about this. I'm not up on countyman's continuous "reports", but did he miss this story?? Aw, who cares...it's good stuff!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 03/21/12 - 12:56 pm
4
1
Dear Cal Ripken, Follow

Dear Cal Ripken,

Follow Starbucks' lead. If you want it, build it.

Kudos to Starbucks.

augusta817
75
Points
augusta817 03/21/12 - 12:57 pm
3
0
1. The Apple store. 2. Jerry

1. The Apple store. 2. Jerry Seinfeld here. I saw him. 3. Elton John here. I saw him. 4. Starbucks' stores. Love them. 5. Now this. Equals things I never thought I would see in Augusta. What's next? Sun rises in West or county commission becomes competent?

Progress in small steps.

raul
5011
Points
raul 03/21/12 - 01:01 pm
3
0
I hadn't heard any hints of

I hadn't heard any hints of this. Anyone heard of this being in the works? Countyman? Countyman? Bueller? Bueller?

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 03/21/12 - 01:33 pm
1
0
I'm not a coffee drinker

I'm not a coffee drinker myself either- but I'll find a way to support this company for opening a manufacturing place here in Augusta. This is great news.

IndianaJones
0
Points
IndianaJones 03/21/12 - 01:34 pm
0
0
Perhaps someone of some

Perhaps someone of some stature can now:
1. Tidy the Augusta thruways like N. Augusta
2. Lobby for the Fall Line Interstate
3. Get the council to stop fighting publicly; that's just insane

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/21/12 - 01:39 pm
0
0
Great news..........I love

Great news..........I love Starbucks.

Fiat_Lux
15652
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/21/12 - 01:44 pm
1
0
Kudos to whomever pulled this

Kudos to whomever pulled this one off. S/he really deserves our gratitude.

DowntownJaguar
121
Points
DowntownJaguar 03/21/12 - 01:57 pm
2
1
Riverman1 will be irate about

Riverman1 will be irate about this.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/21/12 - 01:59 pm
0
0
Lots of new stuff to ooh and

Lots of new stuff to ooh and ahh about and they keep rolllin in. I can't get on board with paying for a 5 dollar coffee but jobs R jobs and I support those that make more of them available to Augusta folks.

AugustaCableGuy
44
Points
AugustaCableGuy 03/21/12 - 02:02 pm
0
0
Dear God in Heaven! I love

Dear God in Heaven! I love you man!

Riverman1
84906
Points
Riverman1 03/21/12 - 02:48 pm
0
0
DowntownJag, geez, you think

DowntownJag, geez, you think I'm bad. Money and jobs coming into Augusta are good things...not that it will help the TEE Center, Jag. Heh.

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 03/21/12 - 03:09 pm
6
0
A HUNDRED acres of Starbucks

A HUNDRED acres of Starbucks - more than seattle and san francisco combined - and who says Augusta isn't cool?

Riverman1
84906
Points
Riverman1 03/21/12 - 03:10 pm
0
0
Rob Pavey, LOL...Best line

Rob Pavey, LOL...Best line I've heard in weeks.

Just My Opinion
5704
Points
Just My Opinion 03/21/12 - 03:24 pm
2
0
Well, I guess there's only

Well, I guess there's only one thing to say to the good folks at Starbucks...."Thanks a latte!"!

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 03/21/12 - 03:33 pm
2
0
so is it $721 million or $172

so is it $721 million or $172 million? the headline and article do not agree. also, were there any incentives to bring this company here?

Willow Bailey
20602
Points
Willow Bailey 03/21/12 - 03:39 pm
0
0
No coffee drinker here, but I

No coffee drinker here, but I do like their food.... Spinach, Artichoke, Mushroom and Mozzarella on Rye Bread.

GuesS_wHU
3
Points
GuesS_wHU 03/21/12 - 03:50 pm
3
0
"A HUNDRED acres of Starbucks

"A HUNDRED acres of Starbucks - more than seattle and san francisco combined - and who says Augusta isn't cool?"

I believe that was Dr. Azziz. President of GHSU/ASU.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 03/21/12 - 04:50 pm
1
0
"Alatte" better use than

"Alatte" better use than Marions drag strip for this property.
Since son-in-law(who bought property directly opposite entrance) would have to change the name "Drag Snacks" to something more fitting now, maybe "CAFFEINE TRACKS"

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 03/21/12 - 05:14 pm
0
0
(I)Love, When (C)ountyman has

(I)Love,

When (C)ountyman has something of which he should be justly proud, he's no where to be found.

Oh, Oh. Maybe (C) knows that the RCDA has issued bonds to finance the construction and profitable operation of the plant?

specsta
6507
Points
specsta 03/21/12 - 05:18 pm
1
8
This is great news for those

This is great news for those who yearn to work on an assembly line for 20 years and retire.

But still no news of a major attraction like a waterpark or large amusement park, no news about a professional sports team with an accompanying arena/stadium, no news about about a major media company or film production company setting up HQ here, no news about anything that will enable Augusta's citizens to have another choice for good income and personal development, apart from the old assembly line.

Why wouldn't Starbucks set up shop here? Augusta has the perfect caliber of folks that only aspire to work for someone else and not try to start a business for themselves. Getting a job at the plant is the ultimate achievement for a lot of folks...meanwhile, Augusta's creative talent keeps moving away to bigger cities.

Little Lamb
46394
Points
Little Lamb 03/21/12 - 05:41 pm
6
2
Would you care to join the

Would you care to join the exodus of Augusta's creative talent, Specsta?

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 03/21/12 - 06:19 pm
0
0
LL 1741.....Priceless!
Unpublished

LL 1741.....Priceless!

Just My Opinion
5704
Points
Just My Opinion 03/21/12 - 06:20 pm
3
0
I think Specsta could use a

I think Specsta could use a good cup of Starbucks coffee to perk him up!
....."...great news for those who yearn to work on an assebly line for 20 years and retire.". Specsta, the first group of people who should be excited are the folks who NEED a job! Did you forget about the terrible economy we're suffering through? Or are you just living in your own little world where REAL problems don't exist? And if YOU want to do something about enriching the creative talent here in Augusta, please do so! You won't find anyone putting you down for it.

Riverman1
84906
Points
Riverman1 03/21/12 - 06:24 pm
4
0
Tell you what, around the

Tell you what, around the neighborhood I grew up in those who had jobs at the factory were the upper class. Those who are hired will be some mighty proud folks. Congrats in advance.

Riverman1
84906
Points
Riverman1 03/21/12 - 06:27 pm
1
0
We need to use Rob's line to

We need to use Rob's line to market Augusta somehow. "The city so cool there are hundreds of acres of Starbucks." Something like that.

WTFH
94
Points
WTFH 03/21/12 - 07:32 pm
2
0
The best thing is that this

The best thing is that this will help bring even more companies/industries to the Augusta area...it's only the beginning. This is huge for Augusta. Thank you Starbucks and all that were involved to make it happen.

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