Agribusiness giant Monsanto has announced a $400 million expansion at its suburban Chesterfield research center.
The company plans to add 36 new greenhouses, plus additional "plant growth chambers," offices and laboratory space at the Chesterfield Village Research Center, on the former Pfizer campus. According to Monsanto the project will add as many as 675 jobs over the next three years
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was on hand to announce the expansion at Chicago’s International Bio Convention.
“In Missouri, we take great pride in our state’s status as a leader in the biotechnology industry, and Monsanto’s $400 million expansion in St. Louis will accelerate our state’s continued growth in this area,” said Nixon.
The governor says news ranks among the biggest economic development stories in Missouri in some time.
“Ford (Claycomo) was about a $1.1 billion investment, GM is currently building a plant at about $387 million," Nixon said. "This $400 million deal ranks right up there with those, and will have that kind of long-term effect.”
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said via Nixon's statement that the expansion will have a "huge impact" on his county's economy.
Denny Coleman is the President of the St. Louis County Economic Council. In terms of job creation, Coleman says you’d be hard pressed to find a better use of economic development funds.
“When you have a major investment like this on the part of a prestigious corporation it’s fair to assume that local and state government would co-invest some of our resources into that opportunity,” said Coleman.
Coleman says the average wage of the 675 new research jobs will be $85,000 per job, not counting the additional construction jobs to build the site.
“There many, many communities who would love to be having this kind of announcement today,” Coleman says.
Monsanto currently employs over 1,000 staff in Chesterfield, and that the expansion could eventually allow the facility to accommodate over 2,000 total employees.
Monsanto’s commercial and corporate teams will continue to occupy the company’s Creve Coeur campus, which also currently houses lab spaces.
Once employees are transferred to Chesterfield, those lab spaces may be converted to other uses. Construction is expected to be completed in 2017, and teams will begin moving to the Chesterfield site in phases beginning at that time.
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