Sysco Distribution Center Breaks Ground

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Sysco Distribution Center Breaks Ground

Posted: 03/29/2007
Mayor Bill Haslam joined Tommy Dail, president and CEO of Sysco Food Services of Knoxville, and others today to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Sysco Distribution Center. The event took place on the grounds of the new facility in the I-275 Business Park just off Tennessee Avenue."This is a great day for Knoxville because we're welcoming a new neighbor, SYSCO, that we know is going to become an important part of the business community here," Haslam said. "We're very pleased that SYSCO decided to make its home here in Knoxville."Included among the speakers at the event were Mayor Haslam; Dail, who will direct operations at the new facility; Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale; Matt Kisber, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Ed Cole, Chief of Environment and Planning for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The Houston-based SYSCO is the largest marketer and food service distributor in the United States. The new 353,00-square-foot distribution center will serve about 5,000 businesses and organizations in parts of five states including Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia.SYSCO's customers include restaurants, schools, hospitals, hotels and many other establishments that prepare food for consumers."Today is a significant day for the City of Knoxville and for SYSCO Corporation," said Tommy Dail, president and chief executive officer of Sysco Food Services of Knoxville. "We are very excited about this location and creating a physical presence here in Knoxville."The distribution center will be built in what was once Coster Shop, a rail service yard operated for many years by Norfolk Southern.

The City of Knoxville bought the property from the railroad before environmentally reclaiming the 44-acre site and making improvements that enabled it to be developed."For a long time when you came down I-275 here you saw an abandoned rail facility where nothing was going on and it looked like nothing ever would," Haslam said. "But today marks a new beginning for this property and for the entire I-275 corridor.""Soon, when you drive down I-275, you see a thriving business here at the northern entrance to a great city," he added.Also involved in the effort that led to Thursday's groundbreaking celebration were the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, which provided state tax credits and infrastructure improvements; the Knoxville Chamber which worked to bring SYSCO to Knoxville and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which provided a $500,000 grant to improve and extend the Tennessee Avenue entrance to the I-275 Business Park.Both Haslam and Dail thanked representatives from all the groups that worked together to bring the distribution center to Knoxville."We looked at many sites in and around East Tennessee before making a decision. We chose this location for two primary reasons," Dail said. "First and foremost, the attractive business climate created by the folks I just mentioned. Second and just as important, the proximity to many of our loyal customers and the interstate system at our front door." The distribution center is expected to be open by early 2008.