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WAPPINGER, NY-Southeastern Container, a Winchester-Va.-based manufacturing cooperative, plans to acquire a 250,000-sf manufacturing facility here in order to convert the property into a Northeast bottling plant.

Southeastern Container currently operates seven bottling plants nationwide. The Wappinger facility, to be located at 500 Airport Rd., will be the firm’s eighth bottling facility, according to Ronald W. Coan, president of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corp. The company is currently attempting to finalize the acquisition of the Airport Road property from a New Jersey-based manufacturing company. The building is currently leased to a pallet manufacturing concern.

Southeastern Container, a cooperative that is comprised of 18 Coca-Cola bottling franchises, will utilize the building as a manufacturing and distribution center of plastic beverage containers to be used by Coca-Cola. The company is a major producer of plastic beverage containers and employs 800 associates in seven states.

Dutchess County officials noted that Southeastern Container’s investment in the Wappinger facility, including land acquisition and new equipment, will exceed $20 million.

The company is expected to receive an incentive package that includes benefits from being located in the Dutchess County Empire Zone, a direct grant from the New York State Empire State Development Corp., and energy assistance and incentives from Central Hudson. In September, Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced the site would be included in the county’s Empire business zone.

Southeastern Container will initially employ 80 workers and will eventually have a workforce of 100 at the site. The company plans to have the facility up and running by March 2003, according to Coan.

The company began talks with Dutchess County Economic Development Corp., and Town of Wappinger officials approximately four months ago after being introduced by members of the Empire State Development Corp.

“The quality of the firm and the potential for further diversification of the Dutchess County employment base drove EDC to do whatever it could to make the deal work and come together,” Coan said. “Our role as local quarterback certainly was fitting testimony to our satisfaction on hearing of Southeastern’s decision.”

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