May 24, 2017 - Milwaukee, Wis.—Global water technology company A. O. Smith Corporation today announced plans to build a new corporate research center near its World Headquarters on Milwaukee’s northwest side.
The 42,700 square foot facility will house its Corporate Technology Center which focuses on advanced research and development in the areas of potable and hydronic water heating, water treatment, and air purification. The company plans to break ground for the project in September with an anticipated completion during the fourth quarter of 2018. The new building will be located at 11000 West Park Place.
“Research and innovation have been fundamental to A. O. Smith’s success for 143 years,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ajita G. Rajendra said in making the announcement. “Over the last several years, we have increased the size of our CTC team by 40 percent as we’ve entered the global water treatment and air purification markets. This new facility will give our team the capabilities to maintain our leadership position in these rapidly growing industries.”
“We expect this to be a showcase research center,” Rajendra continued. “We will bring customers, suppliers, government officials, and community groups through this facility to share the latest developments in water heating and water treatment.”
“A.O. Smith has been a longstanding, prominent Milwaukee manufacturer and corporate citizen, and I think it speaks to the company’s confidence in the City of Milwaukee that they want their primary center for innovation and technology to remain in the city,” Milwaukee Alderman Jim Bohl said.
“With A. O. Smith looking to the future to continue its leadership in advanced water and air treatment technologies, it can only help Milwaukee and the region to have this new center and the synergy it can bring to strengthen our position as a high tech city and global center of water technology excellence,” Bohl said.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett added: “Today’s announcement is very positive news and an affirmation that Milwaukee is a great place for business growth and innovation. A. O. Smith is an honored company in our industrial history and a valued part of our corporate future.”
A. O. Smith has maintained a corporate research team since the 1920s and has occupied its current research facility on the city’s northwest side since 1984. The existing facility no longer fits the needs of the company, according to Senior Vice President-Chief Technology Officer Robert J. Heideman.
“When we moved to our current facility, A. O. Smith was made up of six operating units that were in a variety of industries,” Heideman observed. “Not only is the company significantly different today than it was more than 30 years ago, the technologies are substantially different as well. The team is excited to have a new space to carry out our mission.”
The new research center will include water heating and boiler performance test labs, water treatment labs, an air test lab, as well as a number of specialized development labs.
In addition, the new research center will have a prototype lab that can build product prototypes, test fixtures and other equipment.
A. O. Smith is working with Milwaukee-based Irgens Partners, LLC as the developer of the project. Zimmerman Architectural Studios is the architect of the new research center. CBRE represented A. O. Smith in lease negotiations.