It's now commonplace for executives to want their office space to be “collaborative.” But Bayer HealthCare has taken that a step further at its new U.S. headquarters in the Whippany section of Hanover, where 2,400 employees are now under one roof after being spread across four locations.
"We're in the business of developing new medicines and bringing them to Americans, and that's a complicated thing to do," said Phil Blake, president of Bayer Corp. "So having that many people together, to make sure that we maximize communication and maximize innovation, is exactly what we're doing here."
The new space was on display today as the German drugmaker officially opened the new 700,000-square-foot facility in the Hanover's Whippany section. It was the formal end to more than two years of searching and developing a new site that would consolidate Bayer's operations in Morristown, Montville, Wayne and Tarrytown, N.Y.
The state-of-the-art building sits on a 94-acre site, about half of the campus vacated by Alcatel-Lucent. The facility was built by Vision Equities, which reconstructed two obsolete buildings and connected them with a five-story atrium.
Blake, who is Bayer's top U.S. executive, said the company signed the deal for the property only 14 months ago. That gave the development and design team just a year to deliver the building, he said, but it was important to stick to a tight schedule.
"Because this is a very visible thing to do, it sets the tone if we're on time and on budget with a great outcome," he said. "It sets the tone for expectations across the rest of the organization."
Bayer considered consolidating outside New Jersey. But the company was convinced to stay in 2011 with a state incentive package that included a $22.2 million under the Business Employment Incentive Program and $14 million under the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant program
In a separate news release, Blake also noted the headquarters opening culminates a year in which Bayer introduced five new drugs in fields including oncology and women's health. Gov. Chris Christie attended today's ceremony, the latest in a run of high-profile groundbreakings and ribbon-cuttings in recent weeks.