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TOPEKA, Kan. -- Mars Chocolate North America will build a new manufacturing facility in Topeka, Kan., to meet the growing demand for its products, the company reported. Vice President of Supply Mike Wittman made the announcement alongside Gov. Sam Brownback at the campus of Washburn University this week.
"We are excited to announce our plan to construct this new manufacturing site in Topeka," Wittman said. "The site will be a reflection of our commitment to manufacture our products in the markets where we sell them. Mars looks forward to becoming an important part of the Topeka community."
The facility, which Mars said is to be the first chocolate site built in the U.S. in 35 years, will be state-of-the-art and pursue a LEED Gold Certified designation by meeting leading-edge environmental standards.
The company plans to make a capital investment of more than $250 million in phase one of the multi-phase project. Phase one is scheduled to be completed in 2013, when the facility will begin manufacturing M&M's and Snickers bars. Mars expects to hire approximately 200 full-time workers for the first phase; later phases will include expansion of the facility and the addition of more product lines.
"This is a delicious day for Topeka and the people of Kansas," said Gov. Brownback. "The decision to build this new Mars facility in Topeka demonstrates that Kansas can compete and win in the global business world."
The new facility will be built in Topeka's Kanza Fire Commerce Park.
"Mars and Kansas share common values including the importance of family, community, volunteerism and hard work," Brownback added. "We want to warmly welcome Mars Chocolate to the state of Kansas."