News Articles


Horizon completes relocation deal to move from Avon to Norton

By Jon Chesto
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Jun 21, 2011 @ 06:00 AM


QUINCY — Horizon Beverage Co. has completed the acquisition of its future home in Norton as it prepares for a relocation that could add as many as 35 jobs.

Avon-based Horizon closed on its purchase of the former General Motors warehouse in Norton’s industrial park last week, said Lynn Tokarczyk, a consultant who helped Horizon obtain a local tax incentive package.


Tokarczyk said the liquor distributor’s top executives originally tried to find another spot in Avon large enough to replace the 250,000-square-foot building on Stockwell Drive that the company currently uses for a major warehouse and headquarters. After the company couldn’t find a suitable site in town that was big enough for its expansion plans, it focused its search in nearby towns to minimize disruption to the roughly 380 people who work at the Avon site.


Horizon eventually settled on the 400,000-square-foot GM warehouse that closed last year, a property that’s about 20 miles from the Avon location. Horizon plans to expand the former GM building by about 160,000 square feet over two phases, Tokarczyk said. Now that the property has been acquired, she said Horizon will probably relocate to the new site by sometime in early 2012.


Tokarczyk said she expects Horizon’s owners will invest about $43 million in the new building – a price that includes property acquisition, renovation, construction and equipment purchasing costs.


“Once they put the numbers together to figure out how much this was going to cost, that’s when they needed to secure the state and local tax incentives,” said Tokarczyk, of Business Development Strategies Inc. in Medway. “The town rolled out the red carpet.”


The town of Norton will forego about $800,000 in property taxes during a 13-year period on the additional space that will be built. The town will also waive a tax on equipment used at the entire plant – a concession that could save Horizon $1.6 million over 13 years. Horizon will also benefit from $350,000 in state investment tax credits.


Kara Griffin, executive director of the Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce, said finding a new tenant for a big warehouse such as the former GM location can be challenging. “A company like this, I’m sure, is getting offers from numerous different towns,” Griffin said of Horizon. “There are a lot of vacancies (today) in industrial and commercial buildings.”


Bob Kimball, a Norton selectman who led the board of selectmen during the town’s talks with Horizon, said the company’s arrival will help soften the blow of the GM closure and the pending departure of food giant Sysco, which is decamping for a bigger home in Plympton.


Kimball said Horizon is already getting involved in town affairs, as exemplified by its decision to be a sponsor in the town’s recent Tricentennial Parade – even before the company became a landowner in town. “They had all the attributes that we were looking for,” he said.

Jon Chesto may be reached at jchesto@ledger.com.