Coca-Cola bottling plant on track for spring completion in Missoula Development Park

Shiloh Kerr, Jackson Contractor Group project manager, leans against a compactor in front of the enormous 69,000 square-foot Coca-Cola Bottling plant that High Country owns in the Missoula County development park west of the city. In the background, worker Chris Hall, on a lift, caulks the joints between pre-cast concrete panels. (Renata Birkenbuel/Missoula Current)

Construction of the new 69,0000 square-foot Coca-Cola Bottling plant west of the city is right on schedule.

Trevor Messinger, president and CEO of High Country, owner of the plant, said progress is moving forward and the new facility should be operational next spring. 

“The building is not finished and although the progress has been fantastic and the building is enclosed, there is much work to be done inside the building,” said Messinger. He is based in Rapid City, S.D. 

Shiloh Kerr, project manager with Jackson Contractor Group, confirmed Wednesday on-site that the estimated 30 workers on the lot are right on track.

“It’s going very well,” said Kerr. “We’re tracking on schedule.”

Local business leaders broke ground last May, when the multi-million dollar facility became the first business to secure five lots on the 18-acre site. 

As planned, next spring employees will vacate the longtime bottling plant on Third Street. 

“Our timeline remains the original time frame, and although the progress is somewhat ahead of schedule at this point there is still risk of winter conditions and other factors,” added Messinger. 

The new plant will employ about 55 workers.

The new site will allow the company’s distribution trucks “more efficient access” to Interstate 90 and allow them easier routes in the Missoula area, said Messinger. 

“We will continue to load trucks and ship product to Kalispell daily from the new facility,” he said. 

Coca-Cola continues to add products to its portfolio, such as the Body Armor line of natural sports drinks, Orange Vanilla Coke, Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar and others.

Meanwhile, High Country has yet to disclose the new owner of the Coca-Cola Bottling property at 2010 S. Third St. W.  

“While the building on Third Street is under contract,” said Messinger, “we will not close the transaction until after we move into the new facility and cannot comment on the pending transaction.”

 “We continue to operate out of the facility on Third Street and will continue to do so until we move and begin operating out of the new facility,” Messinger added. 

Missoula County established the development park in the early 2000s and, by applying tax increment financing to aid in placing the infrastructure, it has watched the park fill over the past 15 years.

Tenants for the remaining four lots in the development park haven’t been announced.