ONE of the biggest names in the food and drink industry is moving its UK head office to Crawley.
News that Nestlé is relocating has been hailed as a huge boost to the town's economy.
It was announced last Thursday that the 840 staff at the firm's current national base, in Croydon, would be moving south by the end of the year.
The Swiss firm's UK headquarters have been in the south London borough for 47 years.
But after failing to find a suitable location for a new office in Croydon, the company chose Crawley over several alternatives.
The company will be moving to 1 City Place in the Manor Royal business district.
City Place was built in 2002 and boasts a gym and restaurant on site.
Steve Sawyer, Manor Royal's business district manager, said: "1 City Place is the newest grade A office available in the town and it has been empty since BT moved out in 2010.
"To have a company of Nestlé's standing moving in is fantastic news."
Most of the company's staff are expected to relocate so the move won't bring hundreds of new jobs to the town.
But Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of the Gatwick Diamond Business Association, expects it to have a big impact on other local businesses.
He said: "The main thing is it opens up new opportunities for local businesses to supply and work with Nestlé, whether it's training or stationery supplies.
"It also means businesses in their industry will start to look at Crawley.
"The announcement that Nestlé is moving to Crawley will have been seen by companies not only across the UK but all over Europe as well.
"It shows what an excellent business destination this is and shows we don't just have the facilities and travel connections, we have the right people as well."
Greg Davies, area director consultant for BNI Sussex, a business networking group based in Crawley, added: "Any company bringing a large workforce to Crawley is a really positive thing.
"People will be commuting to Crawley, they are likely to have their cars serviced in the town and go to local bars and restaurants."
Other businesses, he added, could benefit from Nestlé's move.
"Another large company, Thales, was very much in house for a long time," he explained.
"That changed and there were a lot of local people picking up contracts from them."
The building in City Place has been empty since October 2010.
Legal and General Property purchased the building from RREEF real estate for £39 million on behalf of Nestlé and completed the surrender of BT's lease on the property.
Nestlé has taken a 20-year lease on the building.
Paul Grimwood, Nestlé UK & Ireland chairman and CEO, said: "This move represents an exciting new chapter for Nestlé in the UK. We are investing across the UK to establish our next generation of world-class facilities.
"Our new head office will provide a modern, efficient and attractive workplace for our people, in an ideal location."