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Pepsi lands $14M in tax breaks from DeKalb. Here's what the county gets in return

PepsiCo Inc. scored the funds in tax breaks to expand its DeKalb County bottling plant
Credit: Georgia Department of Economic Development

TUCKER, Ga. — PepsiCo Inc. scored about $14 million in tax breaks to expand its DeKalb County bottling plant.

The $260 million expansion is adding 136 jobs to the plant, making it one of the beverage corporation's largest facilities, according to 11Alive's news partner the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Advanced manufacturing capabilities will be incorporated into the plant to increase production by five times in the next five years. The plant, located in Tucker, already employs 464 people. 

The tax breaks span a 10-year period, according to documents from Decide DeKalb, the county’s economic development arm. The expansion was a big win for DeKalb County, which hasn’t seen the same development boom as neighboring counties.  

Population and job creation in DeKalb County has been slower than peer counties in the past decade, according to Georgia Data. DeKalb jobs increased by 7% from 2010 to 2016, according to the most recent data of DeKalb County’s Strategic Economic Development Plan, which is less than half the growth rate of Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. 

"DeKalb’s lack of jobs relative to its large population means the county often misses out on the benefits of large private investment,” the report reads.  

The Pepsi expansion brought Decide DeKalb over its 2022 goal to have $200 million in capital investments. The authority aims to reach $1 billion in investments in five years. Compare that to the Development Authority of Fulton County’s volume. That agency closed $1.3 billion in deals in 2020, which is the most recent data available. Cobb County had $3 billion of investments in six years, according to economic development arm Select Cobb. 

The average wage for employees will be $60,000, according to Decide DeKalb documents. That’s up from the plant’s current average wages of $49,000. That pay increase may be because of new, advanced manufacturing features at the plant.  

Positions at the Pepsi plant will include roles in digitized manufacturing tools, line balancing and troubleshooting, AI and augmented reality tools and real-time analytics for machine operators and mechanics.  

The expansion is set to be completed at the end of 2024. 

About $90 million of Pepsi's expansion is going toward the 260,000-square-foot building expansion, and the other $170 million will be used to install three new manufacturing lines. The plant is increasing production capacity by five times.  

Pepsi is also moving its sales operations, which is currently at the bottling plant, to a new location in DeKalb. The company plans to invest more than $17 million in a 150,000 build-to-suit office, according to the documents. 

Pepsi is spending about $5 million for workforce development to accommodate these new, high-tech positions, said Kathleen Alfano, Pepsi’s senior director of economic development. The beverage corporation is partnering with the Georgia Piedmont Technical College and WorkSource DeKalb. The curriculum in advanced manufacturing at the technical college is set to start this fall. Current employees will have training programs for the new technology.  

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