W.R. Grace & Co., an international chemicals, technology and materials company that reported $3.1 billion in sales last year, opened its new global headquarters in Columbia this week, a move company officials say is part of $100 million investment made by the company into its Columbia and Baltimore facilities over the past three years.
The new 90,000-square-foot building was built on the company's 160-acre Columbia campus, which is located on Grace Drive just off Route 32 on the Clarksville-border.
The new building, a LEED silver certified building by the U.S. Green Building Council, will replace an existing campus building as the company's global headquarters. Grace broke ground on the building in December 2012; construction was completed in April of this year. The old building will still be used as office space, according to a Grace spokesman.
"Based on a foundation of talent, technology, and trust, Grace has a bright future," said Fred Festa, Chairman and CEO of Grace.
He added: "Our talented people help us create and deliver solutions for our customers; our technology enables us to deliver high-value, differentiated products to customer partners around the world; and our long history of meeting our commitments has helped us to earn their trust."
In addition to the new headquarters, the company has also invested in infrastructure to support the acquisition of UNIPOL, one of the world's largest producers of polypropylene, a type of polymer found in numerous everyday items including a variety of plastics, electronics, lab equipment and packaging.
UNIPOL was a part of a $500 million purchase of polypropylene assets from The Dow Chemical Company last December.
Approximately 600 of the company's 6,800 employees work on its Columbia campus, which has 200,00-square-feet of office space and 290,000-square-feet of research and development space.
The Columbia campus was opened in 1958 as a research campus. In addition, the company also operates a manufacturing plant and technical services center in Baltimore's Curtis Bay. The large, 137-acre facility has more than 600,000-square-feet of manufacturing space, 300,000-square-feet of outdoor facilities and 50,000-square-feet of research and development space.
According to a news release, the company has added 74 employees to its Maryland operations over the past three year; it expects to add 100 more by 2018.
Earlier this year, the company emerged from a 13-year bankruptcy, one of the longest Chapter 11 cases in U.S. history, caused by a series of asbestos claims. The case resulted in more than $4 billion being awarded to personal injury claimants and property owners.