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Here’s what could happen to the Coca-Cola site in Dunedin

Veronica Brezina

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The Coca-Cola facility at 427 San Christopher Drive. GoogleMaps.

Coca-Cola’s 27.5-acre site in Dunedin will soon be available for others to acquire and develop a site for an e-commerce giant – or possibly build a residential community. 

Coca-Cola is planning to vacate the property at 427 San Christopher Drive next year, as it is relocating its operations to Bartow, meaning the large property within the city would be up for grabs either by private parties or the city. 

“It’s so incredibly difficult to find land in Tampa proper. So that’s why you’re seeing a lot of growth in Plant City and Lakeland. That whole area is blowing up because they’ve got land,” Julia Silva, JLL Manager Director of Industrial Capital Markets, said during a recent city council meeting.

“Because we are challenged by our geography and the fact we are next to the water, we don’t have a lot of options here. So you are sitting on such an opportunity with these 27 acres … the threat is you don’t own the site. You’re not in control right now.”

The City of Dunedin has actively been working with the Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel, which Silva is a panelist of, to provide a market and land analysis report to know what feasible options are on the table. 

Silva, who specializes in industrial, said the structures would likely have to be rebuilt by any new user as the buildings were there since the 1940s and need improvements. If an e-commerce user were to take control of the site, they would typically want the entire property and use it heavily for van and truck parking. 

There’s also the possibility of flex space, which is a combination of office and industrial uses, and cold storage. 

“If you think about Kroger making a play in Florida without the brick and mortar of Publix, they are coming into Florida and are going to compete with Publix,” Silva said. 

Potentially, it could also be eyed for light manufacturing as the utilities and infrastructure are in place. Another option could be for someone to purchase the site and have individual users buy separate parcels. 

The cost of the land is estimated between $13 million to $16 million based solely on the industrial market. 

Ultimately, the ULI panel listed four highly likely scenarios for the property, which Coca-Cola was using as a primary orange juice production facility. 

One potential option is for the city to buy the property directly from Coca-Cola and issue a request for proposals. 

Here’s a breakdown of the other different scenarios that could occur: 

Scenario 1 – First alternative. A site plan shows a 250,000-square-foot facility. City of Dunedin/ULI documents.

  • Scenario 1-First alternative: Coca-Cola sells the property to an industrial developer or user. It would likely be for a last-mile type of user, which is compatible with zoning. The existing buildings would be demolished. A rendering of the potential scenario shows a 250,000-square-foot building. However, stakeholders are concerned with the increased traffic as a result of this development. 

Scenario 1 – Second alternative. A site plan shows two buildings. City of Dunedin/ULI documents.

  • Scenario 1-Second alternative: There would be multiple industrial users within several buildings at the site. It would provide a more traditional mix of uses such as an engineering office, showrooms and small manufacturing. Typically, someone would build these speculative structures and lease them out. 
  • Scenario 2: Coca-Cola contracts to sell the property to a developer or user with non-industrial plans for the site. Uses could include residential and a component of affordable housing. However, this wouldn’t result in high job creation and the site would have to be rezoned. 

Scenario 3 – A site plan shows two industrial buildings and residential units. City of Dunedin/ULI documents.

  • Scenario 3: The site would sell to one or more developers and could be used for a mix of uses, including industrial. A housing component and retail could likely front the Pinellas Trail along the western portion, which would require rezoning.  

James Moore, Global Solutions Director at Jacobs and who is on the panel, said ULI feels the city needs to clarify its goals for the site and communicate with the county to ensure future development takes place. 

Silva recommended that commissioners should also continue the dialogue with Coca-Cola.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jeremy Reynolds

    November 17, 2021at5:39 pm

    Google Richmond Group v Pinellas County. The zoning will not change! Nothing residential on that property not even mixed use. Just like the FLUM 60 in St Pete last year. It won’t happen!

  2. Avatar

    Lisa Lanza

    November 21, 2021at12:26 pm

    No rezoning. We need to maintain industrial for good jobs within walking and biking distance. Recruit clean industrial. Wonderful opportunity for a manufacturer.

  3. Avatar

    Lisa Lanza

    November 21, 2021at12:29 pm

    Preserve industrial zoning near walkable/cyclable neighborhoods. Great opportunity for a light industry manufacturer.

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