UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. -

It's the real thing for Coca-Cola Refreshments of the Lehigh Valley.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation and the Lehigh Economic Advancement Project have awarded a $1.25 million grant to Coca-Cola Refreshments in support of the company's expansion of its syrup manufacturing facility on Schantz Road in Upper Macungie Twp., Lehigh Co.

The Infrastructure Development Program, or IDP, grant was secured by the LVEDC through Lehigh’s Economic Advancement Project (LEAP) from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, officials said.

"The experience of working with LVEDC to help us secure the IDP grant was flawless," said Tim Fischbach, general manager of the Coca-Cola Refreshments Lehigh Valley facility. "Their finance division understood our needs, quickly identified the resources available to Coca-Cola and assisted us with the grant application."

The $46 million expansion project includes the addition of bottling operations for the Coke's Powerade, vitaminwater and Fuze beverages, which are sold in stores from Maine to North Carolina.

The facility also manufactures syrup for the company’s line of soft drinks.

The project, officials said, strengthens Coca-Cola's commitment to the Lehigh Valley, allowing the company to retain 78 full-time positions and create 50 more jobs.

"We are grateful that Coca-Cola Refreshments' Lehigh Valley has chosen to stay here and to expand its beverage manufacturing operations in the Lehigh Valley," said Don Cunningham, the new president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. "Our partners in the Lehigh Valley and Harrisburg were extremely helpful in securing this grant."

LVEDC is a public-private partnership developed to help existing companies remain and grow in the Lehigh Valley and to market the region to attract and develop new businesses, officials said.