Bayer CropScience building new greenhouse in RTP

Jun. 30, 2014 @ 05:36 PM

Bayer CropScience, a maker of crop pesticides and genetic traits to improve soybean, corn and other crop seeds, is building a new, $29.6 million greenhouse at its Research Triangle Park campus.
This is the latest investment in the campus made by company, which is a subsidiary of the Germany-based Bayer AG.
“We voted for RTP, and it’s been very good for us and we’ll continue to do that,” said Jim Blome, president of Bayer CropScience LP.
The company opened a new, $20 million greenhouse in the summer of 2012 at the campus, it finished a $16.1 million renovation and construction of buildings for its crop protection and environmental science research last year, and has started a $33 million renovation of its headquarters that’s expected be completed in 2015.
The 29,500-square-foot greenhouse announced Monday will replace two smaller, older greenhouses on the campus that have been operating for more than 30 years.
Blome said the construction will be the first development of the 70-acre property near its existing campus that the company bought for $6.2 million in December 2012.
Like the old greenhouses it will replace, the new structure will be used for the company’s soybean, corn and other crop biotechnology research, he said.
According to a news release, the greenhouse will be built to accommodate seed trait research, providing dedicated and isolated space for insect testing, nematode trait research, and the capability of “groundbreaking plant disease research.”
“It’s an update reflecting the size, scale, and growing capacity of our biotech business,” Blome said.
The project is scheduled to begin in the late summer of this year and to be completed late next year. 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 about 700 employees based in the greater Research Triangle Park area.
Blome also said the company is looking to consolidate its Triangle workforce onto the RTP site.
The company has another facility in Morrisville that was the former location of Athenix Corp., a biotech company acquired by Bayer CropScience. Traits developed at the former Athenix facility in Morrisville are put into plants in RTP, Blome said.
“We still have that facility, and over time, we want to move those scientists over onto this RTP site,” he said. “We have future ideas, but nothing concrete to express.”
In addition, the company has shifted its global headquarters for seed research in the Research Triangle Park. The company moved its seed headquarters to RTP in 2012 from France. Blome said the shift was more about focusing new hires in RTP.
And the $16.1 million's worth of renovations were completed at the site in what Blome said was the last step in migrating the company’s headquarters from Kansas City, Missouri. About 40 employees moved from a business group from Stilwell, Kansas.
The company kept a global manufacturing in Kansas City, Missouri, that employs 750 people. Bayer Corp.’s agricultural business was based in Kansas, City, Missouri, before 2002.
The company's RTP operation is the result of the 2002 merger of Bayer's crop protection division with Aventis CropScience.