ST. LOUIS — Meat processor and culinary innovation company Deli Star Corp. has broken ground on a new Food Discovery Center in St. Louis.

Located at City Foundry STL, a newly renovated retail and entertainment space, the site will serve as Deli Star’s research and development hub. It will house two test kitchens, four research-chef stations, a quality lab and an employee cafe. The 16,500-square-foot facility also will feature a ghost kitchen to support test products and cooking technique innovations, along with a lecture hall-style space for culinary science and food nutrition classes.

Deli Star is working with St. Louis-based construction firm Lawrence Group to design and build the site, which is expected to be completed early next year.

“More than 30 years into Deli Star’s history, I am thrilled to break ground on our Food Discovery Center — the first facility of its kind to promote food venture and education, nutrition, R&D and scale-up for food manufacturing all under one roof,” said Justin Siegel, chief executive officer of Deli Star. “We are enthusiastic about how our open innovation framework and being among like-minded culinary leaders at City Foundry will promote collaboration and the sharing of ideas to disrupt the food industry for the better.”