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Cheney Brothers Invests $100 Million On A 250,000-Square-Foot Distribution Center in Punta Gorda, Florida

07/18/2012
Cheney Brothers Inc., a major Southeastern U.S. food distributor, is investing $100 million on construction of a 250,000-square-foot distribution center in Punta Gorda, Florida, where it plans to create an estimated 300 jobs.

"I am excited at the prospect of a new location in Charlotte County," said Bill Foley, president of Cheney Brothers. "We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership with Charlotte County.

The new 35-acre facility, off Interstate 75 on Florida's Southwest Gulf Coast north of Fort Myers, will be used to distribute food to customers from Marco Island through the Tampa Bay area. Headquartered in Riviera Beach, Cheney Brothers also operates food distribution centers in Ocala and Orlando, Florida.

"Cheney Brothers' growth sets the stage for positive economic effects this new distribution center will create," said Governor Rick Scott. "This project is a business gain for Florida, as well as Charlotte County."

The site is located in a federally-designated Brownfields Recovery Act Land Revitalization Area making it eligible for grants and tax incentives, along with other state tax abatements.

Another deciding factor in the firm choosing The Sunshine State was cost-saving incentives offered by Florida Power & Light's special discounted economic development rate.

"We need all the help from all the partners we can get, whether it's our customer partners or our vendor partners, like Florida Power & Light," said Bill Foley, President of Cheney Brothers. "The discount we get from Florida Power & Light is essential. Along with fuel, our electric bill is probably our next biggest expense that we have at Cheney Brothers. So that discount helps us out initially and in the long-run also."

FPL's new economic development rate can potentially save a 350-KW demand business customer an additional $9,500 to $12,000 in the first year to help offset costs associated with the start-up, expanding or moving their operations to Florida, the firm said.

"We're pleased to play a role in Cheney Brothers' expansion," said Lynn Pitts, FPL Director of Economic Development. "FPL's economic development rate provides an incentive to companies that agree to move to Florida or expand their operations here and create new jobs for Floridians."

Eligible business customers receive a declining discount on their standard base energy and demand charges over four to five years, the power company said. An additional FPL incentive targets re-use of existing vacant property, where the associated electrical equipment is already in place. Eligible business customers in a commercial or industrial space that has been vacant for more than 6 months receive an enhanced level of declining discounts.
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