Heartland Coca-Cola unveils plan to build production facility in southern Olathe

Observer file photo

Lenexa-based Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company unveiled plans Wednesday for moving production operations to a new facility in southern Olathe. The announcement that came after the Olathe City Council approved a conditional development agreement and a benefit district for a plot of undeveloped land there.

The new facility, described as a 600,000 square foot state-of-the-art campus, is projected to cost $250 million and open in late 2024. Operations in the Lenexa plant will resume over the next two or three years, and the company intends to offer positions in the new plant to all of its 175 production employees when that happens, said Ed Bryant, the company’s vice president of public affairs and communications.

Construction could begin as early as April. Heartland plans to keep its headquarters and distribution center in Lenexa.

The land where the new facility is to take root is a largely undeveloped stretch of about 150 acres along Hedge Lane near 171st Street. Bryant said the company is still in the process of assessing other needs for the project, including expanding access to utilities.

On Tuesday night, Olathe City Council members helped lay the groundwork by approving a benefit district covering the area where the bottling factory will be located. Such districts operate by imposing an additional tax on property owners to fund infrastructure improvements, like roads and sewers.

Heartland intends to build a three-lane asphalt road over Hedge Lane to meet its transportation needs, price tagged at about $6.1 million. Fifty-two percent of the area landowners agreed to pay for that part of the project.

Under a development contract, the city also agreed to consider a 10-year property tax abatement of 55% and tax exemptions on the purchase of building materials meant for construction.

Council members unanimously approved a proposals forwarded by Heartland on Tuesday night.

In a joint statement with Heartland, Mayor John Bacon celebrated the opportunity to welcome the company to the city, saying “Olathe is a great place to invest.”

“We look forward to working together to bring this project to life, supporting opportunities for growth that will extend into the future,” Bacon said.