Nearly 100 new jobs are planned for Dublin as part of a multi-million euro investment by Limerick-based Pallas Foods, the Irish Independent has learned.
The company is planning to build a massive new distribution centre near Dublin Airport as it responds to increased business activity. It expects that 200 people will be employed during the 15-month construction phase.
The development, on a 40-acre site, will include two huge warehouses, 330 car parking spaces and space to park 183 trucks. At a total of 33,000 sq m, the warehouses and associated offices and service unit will have an area equivalent to almost five football pitches. There will also be a large, separate truck maintenance and fuelling building.
It is understood that engineering and construction firm Arup may already have been selected for the job. Once given the go-ahead, the distribution centre is expected to be completed in 15 months.
Pallas Foods, which was acquired in 2009 by Texas-based Sysco for €175m, plans to base 280 employees at the new distribution centre. Of those, 85 will be new posts. Other staff will be relocated from the company's existing distribution centres.
Pallas Foods is also planning to expand its Limerick operation. Its existing central distribution centre is located in Newcastle West in the county, while it has another seven regional distribution centres.
The facility in Newcastle West is now operating at full capacity and cannot adequately supply the eastern part of Ireland as a result. The new Dublin base is needed so that the company can "continue to thrive", Pallas said.
The planned Dublin centre will enable the company to operate closer to the higher volume markets in the capital and in Belfast.
The Dublin area accounts for about 40pc of Pallas's business, and about 70pc of the goods distributed by the company are of Irish origin.
"This will also enable the company to streamline operations by consolidating some of the regional distribution centres into a state-of-the-art purpose-built facility in Dublin," said Pallas.
The company already has a distribution centre in Blanchardstown in Dublin, but said this has now outgrown its usefulness.
"The new facility will be modernised with technology from the parent company in the United States," the company said.
Founded in the 1980s by Tim Geary, Pallas is now the country's biggest food distributor, employing close to 600 people. Last year it acquired the food services unit of Keelings, which employs 160.
Pallas Foods had considered two other sites near the airport before settling on the current location for the new centre.
It will be built on land owned by a company controlled by a firm called Tempura, which is in turn owned by a company called Monidorm whose sole shareholder is Dublin businessman Michael Mohan.