Alltech plans $21 million expansion of Nicholasville headquarters

Deirdre and Pearse Lyons at the Alltech headquarters in Nicholasville on Sept. 22, 2009.
Deirdre and Pearse Lyons at the Alltech headquarters in Nicholasville on Sept. 22, 2009. Herald-Leader File Photo.

Alltech, the biotechnology company founded in 1980 by Irish entrepreneur Pearse Lyons, is planning a $21 million expansion of its Nicholasville headquarters.

The company is considering adding 73,000 square feet of office space, according to a Thursday release from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Administration.

KEDFA on Thursday approved $2 million in tax incentives for the expansion, which is expected to eventually create 100 jobs with an average hourly wage of $35 including employee benefits.

Alltech spent $80 million on expansion in 2012 — $40 million to expand its Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. and another $40 million on its Nicholasville headquarters.

Alltech, which is the only privately held company among the top five animal health companies in the world, is located at 3031 Catnip Hill Road in Nicholasville. The company has more than 100 manufacturing sites globally and 5,000 employees worldwide.

Company spokesman Susanna Elliott said that Deirdre Lyons, Alltech’s director of corporate image and wife of Pearse Lyons, could not be reached for comment. Deirdre Lyons is overseeing the expansion, which will be adjacent to the current Alltech complex, Elliott said. A conservatory will connect the two buildings.

Nicholasville Mayor Pete Sutherland said the first heard about the Alltech project was this week when he received a letter from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development seeking the city’s support. The city responded with a letter of “100 percent” support, he said.

“We got that in the mail and then here came the announcement today,” Sutherland said Thursday. “So we’re very excited about that.”

Sutherland said the zoning on the Catnip Hill Road property is already in place and “appropriate for what they’re doing.”

Sutherland said he hasn’t heard what the 100 people will be doing and didn’t know if this project will mean a new venture or division for Alltech.

Meanwhile, the mayor said local officials are attempting to land another employer in Nicholasville.

“We’d be looking at 75 to 80 jobs. I’m not at liberty to say who it is yet,” Sutherland said. “But we’ve got to find the right piece of property.”

There are 175 acres of land zoned for industrial uses off U.S. 27 south of Nicholasville, Sutherland said.

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman