39 North Innovation District Plan Unveiled
The Science in Our Food
Einbeck, Germany-based KWS is leasing lab and office space at the Bio-Research and Development Growth Park on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. KWS will build a team of at least 75 research and administrative personnel over the coming three to five years through a combination of relocation from its headquarters in Germany and hiring of new employees. Additional growth opportunities for further expansion are planned.
In addition to lab and office space, KWS intends to make a significant investment in a dedicated greenhouse complex adjacent to Building One at BRDG Park. In the interim, the company will take advantage of the ability to lease research grade plant growth space at the Danforth Plant Science Center.
St. Louis is home to the world’s largest concentration of plant scientists, and more than 750 plant and medical science organizations are based here.
Our region has a trained, skilled workforce thanks to its many academic institutions — and a collection of other core assets that make our community attractive for companies, including:
• Donald Danforth Plant Science Center conducts research leading to the deployment of next-generation technologies and commercial products that will improve agriculture productivity.
• BRDG Park provides plant and life science and clean-tech startups with the tools and resources they need to increase their chances of success — interactions between top scientists, access to state-of-the-art core facilities at the Danforth Center, a workforce training program, and a global ag investor network. After just five years the BRDG Park is 90 percent leased.
• Cortex is an innovation community for bioscience and technology research, and offers state-of-the-art research facilities and access to venture capital. Once fully implemented, Cortex will support 13,000 technology-related jobs.
• The Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the world’s largest plant science research institutions and provides information and expertise for others in plant science.
• Monsanto Co. is a leading provider of technology-based bioscience and agriculture solutions, contributing funding and thought leadership to advance the bioscience infrastructure in St. Louis.
• Washington University is a leader in science and biomedical research, committing funding and strategic leadership to support bioscience growth in our region.
St. Louis’ reputation for having a critical mass of plant scientists, a trained workforce, and convenient access to vital core facilities at the Danforth Plant Science Center made our region an attractive place for KWS to establish the KWS Gateway Research Center. All of the necessary resources and infrastructure are in place here to support and foster successful research, invention and commercialization of ideas.
Another key factor that helped us rise to the top in this very competitive selection process was the region’s ability to show that its many outstanding civic, corporate and academic institutions know how to work together to create a region in which the collection of these assets is greater than the sum of its parts. Our ability to come together to highlight our community as a great place to live, work and invest set us apart from our competitors.
The St. Louis region has best in class plant sciences research, resources and business networks. KWS conducted an exhaustive site selection search in dozens of regions across the U.S., and then it selected St. Louis. That speaks volumes for other companies like KWS to relocate to our region.
Joe Reagan is president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. The following groups contributed to this commentary: Wexford Science & Technology; Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park; Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; St. Louis Economic Development Partnership; Missouri Partnership; BioSTL; and World Trade Center St. Louis.
| St. LouisKWSJoe ReaganEcosytemBRDG Park