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Avon Beverage Firm To Move To New Home In West Bridgewater

By Sandra L. Churchill
Enterprise correspondent Posted Aug 29, 2009 @ 11:52 PM

WEST BRIDGEWATER — If Horizon Beverage gets its wish, its new headquarters will be located in a 500,000-square-foot facility.

Horizon Beverage estimates that 20 new full-time jobs will be created at its West Bridgewater facility and 330 full-time jobs will be retained at the company, relocated from its former Avon headquarters.

The new jobs are expected to span a range of skills, including clerical staff, drivers, salespeople, administrative personnel and shipping-receiving workers.

The projected cost is estimated at $40 million, including $4 million for land and related costs, $23 million for construction and $13 million for equipment and new machinery.

According to Michael Epstein, Horizon’s vice president of operations and general counsel, the fourth-generation alcoholic beverage wholesaler is looking to expand, but is hoping to stay in the general community.

Serving five states, Horizon Beverage sells its products to retail stores and restaurants as well as larger sites, such as Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park.

Horizon Beverage is applying for the Economic Development Incentive program, a state initiative launched in 1993 to help companies find business-friendly communities, create new jobs and spark economic development.

“Communities have to be designated as economic target, areas and West Bridgewater is one of those communities,” said Lynn Tokarczyk, government incentives consultant with Medway-based Business Development Strategies Inc.

West Bridgewater is among 210 communities statewide that have this designated status.

State and local benefits of the program include a 5 percent state tax credit, based on the company’s qualifying capital expenditures as well as Tax Increment Financing, which phases in town real estate taxes over a period of time.

The incentive attracts businesses to participating communities by providing a sliding tax scale in the early years, pending approval by a town-appointed TIF committee.

“We are enthusiastic about partnering with the town of West Bridgewater and securing economic tax incentives in order to make this expansion project a reality,” said West Bridgewater Selectman Matt Albanese.

“West Bridgewater is very much a pro-business community,” said Epstein, adding the TIF decision will be negotiated in the coming months.

If approved, the incentive will make it economically feasible for Horizon Beverage to reduce overall project costs and start construction on the new facility.

Slated to be one of the largest new construction projects in southeastern Massachusetts, the facility should be under construction in March 2010.

“I think it’s a great thing for the town,” said Selectman Jerry Lawrence. “We’re active in the community and active in a number of charities and try to develop a good relationship in the town,” said Epstein.