Agribusiness giant Bayer CropScience announced Monday that it is spending $29.6 million on a new high-tech greenhouse, the latest in a steady stream of investments at the companys Research Triangle Park campus.
We believe in the area, said CEO Jim Blome. Its a strong investment area for Bayer.
The construction of the 29,500-square-foot greenhouse, which will begin later this summer and is expected to be completed in late 2015, comes on top of $78 million worth of projects previously announced by the company over the past two years.
That includes a $33 million facelift to its North American headquarters announced in the fall, which is still underway; a $20 million greenhouse; and the recent completion of a $2.2 million bee research center. The company also moved its global seeds headquarters to RTP from France in 2012.
Further expansion is likely. The company said its latest investment includes infrastructure for potential future growth.
We will continue to grow here, Blome said. We have plenty of land left and an overall master plan to grow along with the business.
In December 2012, Bayer CropScience added to its original 57-acre RTP campus by acquiring an additional 70 acres.
Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of the German conglomerate Bayer, produces seeds and crop protection products such as insecticides. The company is the No. 1 global producer of cotton and canola seeds and recently launched its own brand of soybean seeds called Credenz. Last year its worldwide sales rose 5.2 percent to more than $12 billion.
The new greenhouse will entail hiring additional employees, but spokeswoman Becca Hogan said it is too early to provide specific numbers.
The companys presence in the Triangle has been trending upward. Today it has about 700 employees locally including about 600 in RTP up from 640 last fall.
The Triangle has become an agribusiness hub. Other giant companies with a major presence here include Syngenta and BASF.
Blome said that quality workers, the opportunity to interact with universities and the geographic proximity to key markets make RTP a great location for Bayer CropScience.