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BATON ROUGE, LA-Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United Inc.’s imminent relocation to its new location near Baton Rouge Metro Airport is leaving its 345,000-square-foot plant in East Baton Rouge vacant and ready for sale. The 27-acre facility officially goes on the market mid-February, with an appraised value of $15 million.

Mark Hebert with locally based Kurz & Hebert Commercial Real Estate Inc. tells GlobeSt.com a small portion of the site at Interstate 12 and Airline Highway will be given over to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. through a temporary lease. Net lease rates are quoted at $3.50 per square foot. Otherwise, “the rest of it will be vacant and available, by about mid-February,” says Hebert, who has the listing.

Hebert says the facility already attracted the interest of Visconsi Cos. Ltd. in Pepper Pike, OH, a suburb of Cleveland. Tenant timing, however, was an issue and forced the real estate manager and developer to pull back. “Visconsi had a warehouse-retailer tenant lined up for the space, but the tenant said it could envision market entry around 2012, while Visconsi wanted someone in 2010,” Hebert explains.

Hebert says he’s been approached by others that want a piece of the asset. But Hebert says carving up the property would cause it to lose value. On the plus side, he continues, the location is great. On the other side, though, “it’s not the best time to be bringing a product to the market,” Hebert acknowledges.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United, headquartered in Birmingham, AL, has been in the plant since the 1970s, when the facility was built. Though the company expanded its Baton Rouge operations by 50,000 square feet in 2005, centralization of some of its bottling efforts led it to plan for a larger facility. The Coke bottler launched construction on a north of 800,000-square-foot facility on Plank Road last April. The total estimated costs for that construction top $170 million.

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