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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Chiquita Brands International Inc. will soon call Charlotte home.

As was first reported by NewsChannel 36 and WCNC.com, the $22 million deal will bring the global headquarters to Charlotte.

Chiquita Chairman, President & CEO Fernando Aguirre said the relocation is expected to begin in the summer. The company is negotiating with the NASCAR Hall of Fame to have its offices there.

Aguirre said the company is proud to call Charlotte our new home. He went on to say the company will have a big presence in the community and a positive impact in the area as well.
Aguirre unveiled a plan to donate 15 salad bars to Charlotte area schools as a way to jumpstart the company's commitment to nutrition.

Both Charlotte and Mecklenburg County paid $1 million each to court Chiquita. The state agreed to $20 million in incentives to persuade the company to relocate as well.

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue said she wants to build North Carolina as the state of innovation.

You have a company of this size and prominence moving its corporate headquarters and its research and innovation lab to Charlotte and Mecklenburg (County), Perdue said. It helps us build that brand as successfully and quickly as we built our energy brand.

About 375-400 jobs are on the way as well, with an average salary of $107,000. Aguirre told NewsChannel 36 he expects more than half of those jobs to be filled by people in Charlotte.

Many businessmen and woman at Tuesday's Annual Charlotte Area Chamber meeting said they hoped to benefit from the current employees relocating from Cincinnati. Aguirre insisted he wants those employees to start moving to Charlotte by the summer of 2012.

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