Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Holdings Inc., broke ground recently on a $180 million project to triple the capacity of its Laurel, Md., manufacturing facility, and add a state-of-the-art warehouse to serve the eastern United States.

The project is expected to be completed in 2007. Dreyer's Laurel Operations Center currently supports 220 ice cream makers and staff who produce a wide range of Nestlé and Edy's frozen novelties. The facility, which has been dedicated to novelties, will more than double the number of workers in three years to about 520, and will add nearly 600,000 sq ft of production and warehouse space, 10 frozen snack production lines, and two packaged ice cream lines enabling the manufacturing of packaged ice cream products like Häagen-Dazs in addition to a full range of Nestlé and Edy's frozen snacks. Total square footage for the Laurel plant will be nearly 700,000 sq ft when completed, with room to grow.

The Laurel expansion is the second largest expansion project Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream has undertaken this year. Dreyer's has seven ice cream manufacturing facilities across the country. In May it began a $100 million expansion of its Bakersfield, Calif.-based facility. The Laurel Operations Center will rival the Bakersfield Operations Center in size and capacity when completed and will give Dreyer's two of the world's largest ice cream facilities, one on each coast of the United States.