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LAKE WALES – Corporate staff with the air filter manufacturing corporation Pamlico Air, based out of North Carolina, recently announced plans to expand into Lake Wales.

Pamlico staff have plans to hire 200 area residents, according to Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council President and CEO Kevin Kieft.

The large warehouse on Scenic Highway where members of American Legion Memorial Post 71 used to meet was purchased in November for around $4.2 million and Pamlico Air staff will soon be manufacturing air filters there.

Kieft said the industrial space purchased was the last vacant industrial space left in Lake Wales during his quarterly chamber update at a Lake Wales City Commission meeting Dec. 17. Future industrial growth in Lake Wales may need to be built on land available along State Road 60, west of town, Kieft suggested.

Air filters will be manufactured at the facility for export across the United States, according to the Pamlico Air website. Their other manufacturing facility is located in Wilson, N.C.

This will be the second major manufacturing facility to announce expansion into Polk County this month.

Florida Caribbean Distillers staff recently announced plans to build an aluminum can manufacturing facility in Winter Haven, with plans to hire hundreds of additional Polk County area residents once ready.

The population around Lake Wales is growing and new businesses are opening to serve them.

Planet Fitness staff recently closed on a deal to move into the former Toys “R” Us store at Eagle Ridge Mall, Kieft said.

Dyer Kia recently opened up across from U.S. Highway 27 and a subdivision of homes is being built north of the mall. Retail follows residential growth, Kieft explained.

“There will be challenges and opportunities there,” Kieft said.

Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.