SOUTH MANATEE -- A plastics company that makes containers and bottle caps for Tropicana will open up a 150,000-square-foot distribution space this year in a new industrial park near U.S. 301 and University Parkway built by Benderson Development.
Benderson has signed a deal with Berry Plastics, 7350 26th Court East, this week for the space at SRQ Tech Park, 25th Court East, which is expected to open Nov. 1, said Larry Fineberg, executive director of industrial, office and warehouse space for University Park-based Benderson Development Co.
Berry Plastics, based in Evansville, Ind., makes just about anything plastic from containers, disposable drink cups for convenience and fast food stores to lids of all kinds. Its Florida headquarters in Manatee County is fueled by sales of its bottle caps to the mega orange juice makers including Coke's Simply Orange, Pepsi's Tropicana and Lake Wales-based Florida's Natural plus McCormick Spices.
"We're one of the few cap providers in the area so it's great to be here," said plant manager David Kincade.
The headquarters on 26th Court East will be primarily for manufacturing while the new space will be for distribution of its products, consolidating distribution operations from three buildings to one, Kincade said. The company employees 210 in south Manatee, and the company hasn't determined whether it will hire more workers at the new warehouse, he said.
The company has 85 production facilities in the country and its continued growth led to Berry going public in 2012 with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Stock prices finished the day at $18.96 a share Tuesday. The company earned $176 million before interest, taxes and depreciation in the first quarter this year, according to an earnings report.
Joining Berry Plastics will be Omicron Granite, which will use the flex retail space in the front of the building as a showroom, said Mark Chait, executive director of leasing for Benderson's southeast region.
The natural stone importer has 11 showrooms in Florida and one in suburban New Orleans. The closest showroom is in Tampa, just north of Tampa International Airport.
Much like Omicron, the retail found in the park will be more for manufacturers who need showroom space, Chait said.
Benderson is building 235,000 square feet of industrial and distribution space in the first two phases of the park. Benderson will build an additional 80,000 square feet in a future phase on the 27-acre site, Fineberg said, in addition to a pad site at Tallevast Road and 301. The developer has the ability to build 150,000 square feet of additional space beyond the first two buildings, and will construct those new buildings closer to U.S. 301, Fineberg added.
Benderson, a company known more for its retail and hotel developments, operates 10- to 12-million square feet of industrial/distribution space across the country, Fineberg said.
"For the Sarasota-Manatee market, it's kind of the only first-class distribution center/industrial facility that exists in the market," Fineberg said, adding the other similar high-dock, high-bay space is its Sarasota Commerce Center, 7115 16th St. East, featuring tenants such as Furniture Warehouse and Nestle Waters.
The Sarasota-Manatee region has plenty of industrial/distribution space with ground-level entry for trucks for smaller trucks and uses but many of those spaces are vacant because the economic downturn affected those trades the most, Fineberg said.
Benderson's space offers high bays, high docks and 28- to 30-foot-high ceilings to allow for larger trucks and products to be moved in and out of the building, Fineberg said. This allows companies to stack products high and lease less land.
"Instead of having to lease 30,000 square feet, they can lease 15,000 square feet and utilize stacking to accommodate a lot of their products and have their product on hand," Fineberg said.
Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.