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Nestle Plans $35M Phoenix Bottling Plant

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By Brandon Loomis for The Arizona Republic

Nestle Waters will spend $35M to revamp a west Phoenix warehouse into a plant treating city water and selling it as Pure Life brand bottles, city and company officials said.

The plant is projected to fill 264 million half-liter bottles in its first year, or almost 35 million gallons.

That’s more than enough water to supply 200 Phoenix households for a year. The plant is expected to create 40-50 jobs.

Phoenix officials say the city tap-water supply is secure for years — maybe decades — despite regional drought, and they’re eager to put more of it to use attracting manufacturing jobs like Nestle’s.

Others oppose diverting a precious public resource for profit when residents can safely drink it from their taps instead.

The city’s development chief said it’s exactly the direction that the city needs. After a population growth-driven boom sputtered through the Great Recession, Phoenix leaders learned to focus as much on making products as on building houses.

A growing demand

If the water didn’t go into bottles it likely would go to a new subdivision, permanently increasing demand, said Dave White, a sustainability professor and director of the university’s Decision Center for a Desert City.

The 395KSF plant, on 43rd Avenue south of Buckeye Road, was built in 2013 but never occupied. Nestle will invest $35M in it and employ dozens by next year, the company says, selling mostly to Arizona customers currently buying bottles trucked in from Denver or Southern California.

Nestle will save on transportation by bottling near Arizona customers. The company chose Phoenix in part for a water supply that it determined is more sustainable than those in neighboring cities.

Read more at The Arizona Republic

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