Witness the corporate sleight of hand: Coca-Cola Enterprises is considering building a bottling plant and regional headquarters off U.S. 1 in Howard County. The media gets wind of the idea. A community near the proposed site in Savage gets up in arms. Poof! Coca-Cola disappears. Or has it?
Bruce Jaffe, a consultant representing the owner of the former Freestate Raceway property that the soft drink company was considering, says negotiations have broken off with Coke. Mr. Jaffe says his backers are moving ahead with plans to build a large shopping center at the site instead. An announcement was made in victorious fashion by Shane Pendergrass, a county councilwoman who represents the area and fought Coke's plans.
Those less ebullient about the latest events would include Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker, who were spearheading the effort to woo Coke for the jobs and tax revenues it would bring.