(KMOV.com) - A plant science company, based in Germany, announced plans to locate a new North American research center in the Bio Research and Development Growth Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur.
The company, KWS SAAT AG, says it will bring on about 75 employees over the next few years to work in the new KWS Gateway Research Center - conducting research on both genetically modified and non-genetically modified seeds.
"It's really a nod and a verification of what we're saying St. Louis is for plant science," said Denny Coleman of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. "There are other companies out there in the marketplace looking for locations and they will see this as a real nod towards St. Louis."
KWS officials say the company chose the St. Louis County location over sites in Boston, the San Francisco Bay area, and the Research Triangle Park (near Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill in North Carolina) because of a high concentration of bio science professionals, tax incentives, and existing infrastructure.
"In the beginning, we thought you have to build and invest in buildings. You have to set up everything for a lab... and so on. Here we find the situation is great," said Dr. Leon Broers - a member of the Executive Board of KWS SAAT AG.
Broers said KWS plans to modify existing labs in the Bio Research and Development Growth Park and build a new greenhouse at the site - with much of the work getting underway this year.
The company is receiving local and state tax breaks to locate to St. Louis County, including tax abatements on real property. The estimated dollar amount of the incentive is not yet available - according to the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. KWS is also offered $100,000 from the St. Louis County Port Authority Community Reinvestment Fund. The State of Missouri says KWS could receive up to $1.75 million in state tax incentives over the next ten years - if it meets job creation requirements. KWS would have to hire 75 employees with the average wage of the new jobs paying at or above the county average wage and offer health coverage.
"Getting this international brand, KWS, to make this significant investment here with the high paying jobs is exactly the reason we are involved in the economic incentive world," said Missouri Governor Jay Nixon when asked about the tax incentives.