UPDATE: Coca-Cola breaks ground at former Olan Mills site
UPDATE: It's been 115 years since Coca-Cola began bottling in Chattanooga Monday the company is investing another $62,000,000 dollars in the scenic city.
Coca-Cola broke ground today on its fifth Chattanooga facility, a sales and distribution center at the former 'Olan Mills' property on West Shepherd Road.
The expansion is bringing jobs and some infrastructure improvements to the community, something area residents say they've been waiting on for years.
"I think it's a dream come true to us to have the Coca-Cola company actually going to settle in our neighborhood," said Armelia Williams, Neighbor.
What's a big day for Coca-Cola officials and local political and business leaders seems an even bigger day for the Shepard Community including long-time resident Armelia Williams.
"Since I was 11-years-old and I won't tell you how old I am right now, but quite some time," said Williams.
She's one of several neighbors who didn't want to miss the big moment, as they broke ground on a new Coca-Cola Sales and Distribution Center. This 42 acre lot has been sitting abandoned since 2012 when Olan Mills was bought out.
"A piece of property that needed a little expensive work done frankly," said Ron Harr, Chamber of Commerce.
Local leaders said this location wasn't the easiest or cheapest option for coke to choose for its expansion. But company officials say they're confident in the city's continued growth 'and' the relationship that started in 1899.
"It only seems historically appropriate, historically right and frankly commercially right for us to re-invest in this community," said Claude Nielson, CEO.
The expansion will create 43 new jobs. They'll tear down this old building, for a new environmentally-friendly, 300-square feet facility.
The state has agreed to improve the 153 overpass and Coca-Cola threw in one more thing that excited neighbors.
"We've been asking for them a long time and finally it's going to be a reality," said Williams.
Saying it all combines to make the area safer, more visually appealing for airport visitors and offer jobs that economists agree, are critical.
"Jobs are the solution to almost every community problem," said Ron Harr, Chamber of Commerce.
"I just think we're lucky," said Armelia Williams, Neighbor
The new facility will handle sales, order generation, truck loading and distribution. Coke is bound by the agreement with the city and county to employ 43 new full-time workers, paying at least 45,000 dollars a year within 3 years.
It's set to open January 2016.