A project that was first announced in December 2013 is finally shovel-ready.
Food distributor Ben E. Keith Company will break ground Thursday at 11 a.m. on its new North Little Rock distribution center.
The 72-acre site should begin construction in July 2015, according to the company. It should be completed by the spring of 2017.
When it was first announced, the project was slated to be a $60 million, 300,000 sq. ft. investment that will add 74 jobs.
The food service products distributor currently employs about 260 workers in Arkansas that pay an average wage of $33.75 per hour.
The expansion will develop a state-of-the-art distribution center in North Little Rock and will serve as the company’s Mid-South regional headquarters. The addition will consolidate Ben E. Keith’s facility at the Port of Little Rock into the North Little Rock facility.
Ben E. Keith serves all of Arkansas and parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Tennessee. Company officials said growth in the culinary and restaurant industries in the region, as well as a push for more market share, led to the expansion efforts.
“We are thrilled to be able to expand our operations in Central Arkansas,” said Rusty Mathis, general manager of Ben E. Keith’s Mid-South Division. “This project would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, North Little Rock Economic Development Corporation, and the Federal Economic Development Agency. We appreciate the support, and our employees look forward to the day we move into our new, state-of-the art facility.”
Ben E. Keith’s new Arkansas headquarters will be rail-car accessible and the company will pursue LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.