Chiquita to Relocate to Queen City; UNC Charlotte to Break Ground on $37M Facility

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor Chiquita Brands International Inc ., a leading international marketer and distributor of food products, recently announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Charlotte, from the company’s current location in Cincinnati. After months of lobbying and meetings, [...]

Chiquita Brands International Inc ., a leading international marketer and distributor of food products, recently announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Charlotte, from the company’s current location in Cincinnati.

After months of lobbying and meetings, the company chose the Queen City over other notable candidates such as Atlanta, Boca Raton, Fla., and Cincinnati, mainly due to the incentives package awarded by state and local governments, which amounts to roughly $27 million. As part of the deal, Chiquita will have to keep its headquarters and 90 percent of its jobs in Charlotte for at least 10 years, and the average salary will have to be more than $100,000, according to the Charlotte Observer. Total costs related to the project are expected to climb to between $30 million and $35 million.

“After an extensive review of our capabilities and needs, we are confident that Charlotte is the optimal location for our business and that our decision to relocate is in the long-term best interest of our company, customers, employees and shareholders,” said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer, in a press release. “Charlotte provided the most compelling economic opportunity to lower our long-term operating costs, and the region is an attractive community for our employees. Importantly, the Charlotte airport provides improved access to international markets, customers and Chiquita operations around the world.”

Chiquita Brands International, which had $3.2 billion in sales last year, will bring about 400 jobs to the city, with an average salary of $106,000.

The company plans to occupy 150,000 square feet in the NASCAR Plaza, the 20-story, Class A office tower on the corner of Caldwell and Stonewall Streets. The 390,000-square-foot property is owned by Trinity Capital Advisors and managed by Trinity Partners.

In other news, the Charlotte Observer reports that UNC Charlotte plans to break ground on a new research and development facility on Dec. 15.

The PORTAL building will total 95,000 square feet and will provide premier space for university-industry partnerships. The $37 million project is slated to be complete by late 2013 or early 2014, with financing provided by the university.