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RYE BROOK, NY-In a move that will combine two of its American beverage subsidiaries, Cadbury Schweppes plc is close to signing a lease for 135,000 sf at the former IBM facility at 900 King St. here. The pending deal was confirmed in separate announcements released by Gov. George Pataki and Westchester County government officials yesterday. Although the lease deal has not been signed, Snapple Beverages Group president Jack Belsito said the company is moving to a new location in New York State.

Cadbury Schweppes is combining Snapple Beverage Group Inc., which is based at 709 Westchester Ave. in White Plains and Mott’s Inc., which is currently headquartered at Six High Ridge Park in Stamford, CT. The new company will be known as Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages.

On Tuesday morning, the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency induced an application by Cadbury Schweppes for $659,000 in sales tax exemptions if the firm moves forward with its consolidation plan and lease deal at 900 King St. The firm is also eligible for a $1-million grant from the state’s Empire State Development Corp.

Contacted by GlobeSt.com later that day, Steve Jarmon, spokesperson for Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, said that the firm is still considering the Mott’s headquarters location in Stamford as a possible site for the newly combined company.

By lunchtime, however, Gov. Pataki issued a statement that said, “We were made aware that this company was not able to remain in their current site due to space limitations, and Empire State Development worked hard to make sure jobs stayed in the area.”

Snapple’s Belsito said in the same release, “New York has welcomed us with open arms and an advantageous economic package.”

Christopher O’Callaghan, a principal of McCarthy O’Callaghan Co. Inc., the exclusive leasing agent for 900 King St., tells GlobeSt.com, “We are working diligently to finalize a transaction with Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages and are hopeful that a lease transaction will be concluded imminently.”

If the deal closes, Westchester County would retain approximately 200 workers from the former Snapple Beverage Group, while the former Motts division would relocate approximately 200 employees to the Rye Brook complex from Stamford. Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages would occupy the entire second floor of 900 King St, along with 35,000 sf of space on the first floor.

Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, commented, “The company’s decision to consolidate in Westchester validates our belief that businesses come here because of our high quality of life.”

Salvatore Carrera, director of the Westchester County Office of Economic Development, says the county had been in negotiations with Cadbury Schweppes, in conjunction with the Empire State Development Corp., for the past nine months. He says that if the deal closes, “This is the cream on the cake for ending 2003,” noting that New York Life Insurance, Fuji Photo Film USA and Ameriquest Mortgage had all inked major lease or commercial property acquisition transactions this year. Those deals followed Morgan Stanley’s purchase of the former Chevron/Texaco headquarters in Harrison in late 2002.

The 900 King St. property, located on the border with Connecticut, has been vacant since 1991 when IBM left the property. The 207,000-sf building is owned by Rye King Associates LLC, a joint venture of Wafra Investment and Brickman Associates of New York City. The building ownership has committed to a $12-million capital improvement program at the property. New York State and Westchester County officials estimate that Cadbury Schweppes will spend $10.9 million to renovate its new office space at the Rye Brook property if the lease deal is finalized.

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