Denver, CO

Coca-Cola follows Pepsi with plans for massive plant near Denver Airport

David Heitz
Photo byMaximilian Bruck/Unsplash

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) First came the announcement from Pepsi last year that it will build its largest bottling plant in the U.S. near the Denver airport. Now, it's Coke's turn.

A Denver City Council committee will consider next week leasing 97 acres at DEN to a Coca-Cola bottler.

The manufacturing and bottling facility would be built and operated by Swire Infrastructure, Inc. It would be located near Tower Road and Pena Boulevard. “The campus at DEN will replace an existing production center on York Street and a sales center on East 40th Avenue with 1,120,000 square feet of new construction,” according to a memo from city staff to the committee. “Swire anticipates investing $350-500 million dollars in the project and adding up to 200 new jobs to the current 700 (full-time equivalents) across existing facilities.”

The airport would lease the land to Swire for 75 years and $270,746,841. Swire has three eight-year options to extend the lease to 99 years.

The airport would contribute up to $10 million in infrastructure improvements at the site. The airport also will give right of first refusal to Swire to lease an additional 30 acres further east.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi both plan massive Denver plants

Last year, Pepsi announced it would build its largest plant in the U.S. near the Denver airport. According to KUSA 9 News, construction is expected to be completed this year on the plant at East 72nd Avenue and Tower Road. It sits on 152 acres just south of E-470. The 1.2 million-square-foot facility is expected to create 250 new jobs.

The Pepsi and Coke plants will be about the same size. Just as the city welcomed Pepsi, officials say Coca-Cola is a good fit for Denver. “Corporate practices emphasize diversity, equity and inclusion, women’s empowerment, and youth development,” city staff reports in a memo to council. “Swire sustainability initiatives have clear metrics for climate protection, sustainable packaging and recovery, and water stewardship.”

Swire is a franchisee of Coca-Cola operating six production facilities and 45 sales centers across 13 states in the western U.S. In Colorado, Swire operates eight facilities that employ 1,250 people.

The Business, Arts, Workforce and Aviation Committee will consider the lease at its April 5 meeting. Even if the committee approves the lease, it still will need full council approval.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

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