German seed company to open first U.S. facility in St. Louis market

by Dan Rafter

The brokers working the St. Louis market say that the city is a good home for start-up and tech companies.

More evidence of that arrived earlier this week, when a German plant-sciences company chose the St. Louis market as the home of its North American research facility.

KWS SAAT AG, headquartered in Germany, has for more than 150 years bred crops designed to thrive in temperate climates. The company focuses on seed cultivation of sugar beets, corn, grains, oil and protein plants.

KWS will operate its North American research facility in the BioResearch and Development and Growth Park in Creve Coeur, a suburb of St. Louis. The $13.7 million capital investment that KWS will make is expected to create 75 jobs in the next three to five years. And these aren’t entry-level jobs. They will be high-paying.

“We recognized that supporting the bioscience industry would be vital for the future of our economy,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in a written statement. “More and more bioscience companies are choosing to make their home in Missouri, strengthening the state’s reputation as a bioscience powerhouse.”

KWS’ research facility will be known as the KWS Gateway Research Center and will operate from the Danforth Plant Science Center. It will fit in well in the BioResearch and Development and Growth Park, which is filled with universities, institutes and start-ups.

KWS will renovate 19,150 square feet of the park’s Building One to create a custom lab and office space. Next to Building One, KWS will build a dedicated greenhouse complex for its research and development.

Leon Broers, KWS member of the executive board responsible for research and breeding, said that the move to the biosciences park made sense of his company’s future.

“With the establishment of the KWS Gateway Research Center, we are now present in two of the world’s prime locations for plant research, USA and Germany,” Broers said in a written statement.

The St. Louis-area location marks the first research facility that KWS will operate outside of Germany. KWS was founded in 1856.

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