ATLANTA, Georgia: Coca-Cola has announced plans to close a Massachusetts bottling plant in summer 2023, leaving its 319 employees without work.
The company also announced that it would sell facilities in Michigan, Missouri and Texas to Refresco, which it said are unrelated, reported the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
"After careful consideration, Coca-Cola decided to close its production facility in Northampton, Massachusetts. We did not make this decision lightly and are grateful to have been a part of the Northampton community," stated the company.
The closure of the plant will be a major economic loss for the city, as it is the largest manufacturer, water customer and taxpayer, Mayor David Narkewicz said.
According to city tax records, the property has an assessed value of $17.7 million, and pays some $306,000 in annual property taxes.
Coca-Cola has benefited from a 13-year tax increment financing agreement with the city, lowering taxes by 50 percent for seven years and by 25 percent for the remaining period. The agreement expires in summer 2023.
Narkewicz stressed that representatives informed him that the closure is tied to a restructuring plan that will also close a facility in California.
"There were significant investments by the state and the city to keep them here and help them expand. However, Northampton is caught up in a larger model of corporate restructuring," he added.
State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, D-Northampton, said the announcement is "both surprising and disappointing, particularly during a time when there is a focus on getting people back to work."
"I will be curious to hear why a company, whose revenue grew 42 percent last year, is closing a location that has long been an important part of the community, which has worked hard to accommodate their needs," Sabadosa added.