McCormick & Co. opens new Hunt Valley headquarters

The roughly 1,100 McCormick & Co. employees who now work under one roof in Hunt Valley can confer more easily with colleagues in different departments or halfway across the globe, take an expanded assortment of cooking and professional classes on site, try out new brand flavorings in the cafeteria and choose to work in private offices or open settings.

The spice and flavorings maker’s new global headquarters at the corner of Shawan and York roads, which officially opened Tuesday, was designed not only to attract and retain top talent but to give the brand an edge over rivals, company leaders said. Workers began moving in at the end of July from four separate office buildings in the area. The four-year, $170 million refurbishment of a former telephone company building was completed last week.

“This for us represents a continuation of our efforts to build the McCormick of the future,” Lawrence E. Kurzius, McCormick’s chairman, president and CEO, said Tuesday during a stop in the new building’s on-site company store. “This space represents a great place for people to come to work… Getting the right talent is critical in today’s world for any kind of business to be successful… We want to be a talent magnet, not just for our industry but across all industries.”

A ceremony Tuesday morning marked the completion of a four-year effort to build the new headquarters, one in which several dozen employees contributed ideas for design, technology and sustainability. The company’s well-known logo now sits atop the building near Hunt Valley Towne Centre, about two miles away from McCormick’s longtime headquarters in Sparks.

McCormick announced three years ago that it would stay in Baltimore County. The company had spent more than a year studying 60 possible sites in three states.

State and Baltimore County officials who attended an opening event Tuesday said they lobbied to keep the company from pulling up roots in Maryland. Gov. Larry Hogan, who said he first met with company leaders as a gubernatorial candidate, recalled that he’d pledged to help the 129-year-old company stay in state.

“We couldn’t imagine Old Bay being made in Pennsylvania or anywhere else,” Hogan said during the ceremony. “One of the highlights of being governor, the best part of my job, is seeing homegrown, Maryland businesses continue to invest and expand their footprint here.”

Rather than mostly private offices, the building features more than 100 collaborative areas, which will help spark ideas and conversations, said Lisa Manzone, senior vice president of human relations.

“People can choose to work where they want to work,” Manzone said. “If they want to be in a smaller group with two or three people, they've got a space for that. If they need to be in a large group, we have meeting rooms for that as well. By having the main staircase up the middle of the building, and the openness looking into the atrium, people are able to move around, walk around. They can plug in anywhere.”

The 350,000-square-foot space on six floors was designed to be flexible, and also to pay tribute to a more than century-old spice making legacy, the company said. A re-created “tea room,” a feature of McCormick’s former headquarters and plant on Light Street near the Inner Harbor, is available to employees looking to meet or take a break.

The building includes state-of-the-art test kitchens to research flavors and develop products, an employee cafe that showcases McCormick-owned brands and areas for culinary classes open to all employees.

Megan O’Brien, manager of McCormick’s creative content studio, which produces videos and photos for social media channels, said the state-of the-art space fits the way employees work.

“It’s a really open and collaborative environment, especially working on the digital team, just being able to interact with each other on a daily basis, and managing all these open channels, from Pinterest to YouTube and Facebook and Instagram,” said O’Brien, a five-year employee. “It’s just important that we’re all together.”

Kurzius said the building will allow for future expansion and growth and can accommodate another 500 workers. Besides the headquarters workers, McCormick employs more than 1,200 people in manufacturing and research facilities in the area, part of 12,000 employees globally.

“We’re a rapidly growing business,” Kurzius said. “Customers have an insatiable demand for flavor and are cooking more from scratch. We see a long runway for our business to grow.”

McCormick reported its third-quarter results Thursday, posting a profit of $173.5 million for the three months that ended Aug. 31, on sales of nearly $1.35 billion. That’s up from a profit of $108.2 million on sales of nearly $1.19 billion a year earlier.

The company last year acquired the food division of Reckitt Benkiser Group, maker of French’s mustard and Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Third-quarter growth in the consumer and industrial segments was driven partly by incremental gains in Frank’s and French’s products, McCormick said.

The former headquarters of McCormick’s consumer division, at 211 Schilling Circle, has been sold to Caves Valley Partners and B&B Realty Services, which plan to make improvements and bring in new tenants.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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