Bayer CropScience will invest $29.6 million in the expansion of its North American and global Seeds headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
According to the firm, this investment includes the construction of a 29,500-square-foot greenhouse as well as the necessary infrastructure and land development to support the state-of-the-art research facility and potential future growth. The new facility will accommodate the company's seed trait research, providing dedicated and isolated greenhouse space for insect testing, consolidated space for nematode trait research, and the capability for groundbreaking plant disease research.
The RTP site has experienced significant operational growth in recent years, Bayer officials said. This expansion marks the beginning of the development of land acquired in Dec. 2012. Work on the greenhouse, or GH1, is scheduled to begin in the late summer of 2014, with completion scheduled for late 2015. GH1 is the second greenhouse constructed at Bayer CropScience's North American and global Seeds headquarters in the past two years. The $20 million, 60,000-square-foot Greenhouse 5 was opened in July 2012 to support company sustainability and productivity efforts focused on soy, corn and other broadacre crop research.
"The construction of this greenhouse represents our continued commitment to RTP and to leaving a better world for the industries and communities we serve through advanced agriculture and bioscience research and development," said Jim Blome, President/CEO of Bayer CropScience LP. "Our new facility will allow our scientists and other researchers to discover innovative solutions to the world's ever-changing agricultural issues, and will help us feed a growing planet in need of plentiful food sources grown without threat from dangerous insects and other pests."
GH1 will replace Greenhouses 3 and 4, which have been in operation for more than 30 years. This new facility will serve to further promote innovative research and development efforts. To accommodate staff growth, the project will also increase campus parking by 200 spaces and provide a new security hut. To date, Bayer CropScience has approximately 700 employees based in the greater Research Triangle Park area.
"Our greenhouses are a hallmark of our ability to serve as an industry leader and innovator, and these sustainable structures provide a path for the development of future plant and insect initiatives that will support our growers around the world," said Frank Terhorst, Global Head of Bayer CropScience's Seeds business unit. "We look forward to beginning development of our newly acquired land with the construction on GH1, and to enhancing the work of our employees and the quality of life for those who depend on our growers' products."
The completed GH1 will include several sustainable and environmentally friendly features designed by international architecture and engineering firm Clark Nexsen. These include a rainwater collection system for greenhouse plant irrigation; low flow, sensored plumbing fixtures; occupant sensored lighting; daylight harvesting; MERV 13 filters to improve indoor air quality; an HVAC energy management system; and reflective roofing to reduce the building's heat intake.
GH1 is the latest in a series of recent investments in the RTP area, including a $2.1 million, 6,000-square-foot North American Bee Care Center, which opened in April of this year. Other investments include $16.1 million in renovations and remodeling of the Development North America facility, with 40,000 square feet of space dedicated to crop protection and environmental science research; $33 million in renovations to the North American headquarters, scheduled to be completed in 2015; and the purchase of 70 acres of land adjacent to the North American and global Seeds headquarters to accommodate the GH1 project and other future growth.
"Our newest greenhouse is the latest in a series of sustainable innovations that reinforce our commitment to growing along with the greater Triangle area and improving the lives of people in the communities we serve," said Blome. "The high-level research and development enhanced through GH1 will not only allow us to continue to produce solutions for our growers, but will also help us to leave a better world through our leadership in the agriculture and bioscience industries."