One of the St. Louis region's most prominent technology companies is hoping to use some workplace culture elements of some of the big players in Silicon Valley in its new headquarters in Maryland Heights.
World Wide Technology plans to open the space for 1,000 workers in 2017. It will anchor a $95 million revitalization effort for Westport Plaza.
Company officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.
"It's just another day in kind of the evolution of World Wide," said Chief Executive Officer Jim Kavanaugh, who has visited the campuses of fellow global technology leaders Apple, Google and Facebook.
"Anytime that I travel around, I will always be looking at how their physical buildings are built. I'll also be watching very closely (at) just how are their cultures and how do they treat their employees."
The new 210,000 square-foot headquarters is expected to be home to 1,000 workers. The project is a joint-effort with property developer Lodging Hospitality Management, which is also planning a new parking garage at Westport that will have spaces for more than 760 vehicles.
Along with other improvements, Kavanaugh hopes Westport will eventually be home to an "innovative" technology park, allowing his employees to thrive in an environment similar to digital giants on the West Coast.
"You're connecting to people all over the world and your employees and customers and partners. But you also need those physical workspaces where that people can get together and still connect with each other," Kavanaugh told reporters shortly after the groundbreaking.
"And that's the thing, along with building out a really special culture."
Governor Jay Nixon attended the event and touted what he sees as Missouri's recent economic progress, including last week's jobs report showing the state's unemployment rate has hit 4.7 percent. That is its lowest level since 2006.
The World Wide Technology project is poised to help the state continue what Nixon regards as economic momentum.
His office says the expansion is expected to create 500 jobs over the next few years.
World Wide Technology's existing headquarters in Maryland Heights will still be used once the new corporate offices are online. That campus will be home to an advanced technology center, IT and other operations.
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