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9/18/2003

Windsor tapped for bottling facility

By Kelly K. Serrano
Times-Call News Group

WINDSOR — A new Owens-Illinois Inc. bottling plant won’t end up in Loveland or even Larimer County, but it will be close enough to do some economic good for the county.

Company officials announced Tuesday that they will build a 500,000-square-foot facility east of Windsor near Weld County Road 66, east of the Kodak Colorado and Metal Container Corp. facility. The site will be annexed into Windsor.

They chose that site over others in Larimer and Weld counties and southeast Wyoming.

The plant will employ about 150 people and have an estimated annual payroll of more than $6 million, said Sara Theis, spokeswoman for Owens-Illinois, based in Toledo, Ohio.

The plant will be the major supplier of 12-ounce bottles to the Anheuser-Busch Inc. plant in Fort Collins, Theis said.

The incentives the town of Windsor will provide Owens-Illinois include infrastructure improvements, utility access, rail connection and work force training grants, she said.

Theis did not know how much the incentives were worth.

J.J. Johnston, president and chief executive officer for the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp., said Weld County has more production workers, which will make up the majority of the bottling plant’s staff. But the plant also will draw some of its work force from Larimer County, he said.

“We just think it’s great for the region for it to go in here than for it to go to Cheyenne,” Johnston said.

He said the facility will have a “direct economic impact” on both Larimer and Weld counties as well as Colorado, employing their workers, buying supplies from Colorado companies and selling its products to Anheuser-Busch.

“Every new employer helps” at chipping away at the area’s growing number of unemployed, Johnston said.

The Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp. learned early on in Owens-Illinois’ site search that Larimer County did not have what it was looking for, he said.

Owens-Illinois officials said they based their site selection on its proximity to its customer base and accessibility to natural gas, power, highway, railroad and work force.