Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bayer CropScience enhancing Institute site, trying to attract new tenants
George Hohmann
Daily Mail Business Editor

Bayer CropScience has allocated $15 million to spruce up the company's industrial park at Institute, said spokesman Tom Dover.

"Some buildings near the roadway have already gone down," Dover said. "We're clearing out a bunch of dead stuff - relics from the past.

"Besides taking out dead stuff, we want to improve the first impression of the site as people roll up," he said. "We've had nice signage for some time. We have a small team of folks working on identifying ways to make the site look better for that first impression."

The Bayer CropScience Manufacturing Industrial Park sits on State Route 25, between Institute and Nitro. Bayer CropScience shares the park with several tenants, including Dow Chemical's Union Carbide subsidiary; Praxair Corp.; Adisseo; FMC Corp.; Catalyst Refiners; Reagent Chemicals.

Bayer CropScience has been trying, with some success, to attract more tenants. Emerald Biofuels of Golf, Ill., announced last March that it intends to build a $15 million biodiesel plant in the park.
"We want that first impression to be much better than it has been so, when prospects roll in, what they see is attractive to them," Dover said.

The site renewal project money is coming from Bayer CropScience's corporate parent. "It's nice to be able to get hold of some of these one-time funds," Dover said. The company plans to finish the improvements by the end of this year.

A meeting was held Wednesday with community leaders to go over the plans. Bayer CropScience employees were told of the plans last week during "State of the Site" meetings.

"One thing we are sensitive about is, we don't want people drawing the erroneous conclusion that we're sprucing up the site in order to sell it," Dover said.

Bayer CropScience acquired the Institute site in 2001 when it bought Aventis CropScience. Aventis was formed in 1999 through the merger of Hoechst AG of Germany and Rhone-Poulenc SA of France.

The improvements at Institute follow similar work by Dow Chemical in South Charleston. In 2002 Dow demolished "The Green Monster," a 65-foot-tall drum warehouse along MacCorkle Avenue near the South Charleston plant entrance. The company also built a new entrance to the plant and transformed the area along MacCorkle Avenue from a strip filled with gritty pavement, railroad tracks and a chain-link fence into a grassy buffer zone.

Last year Dow tore down many obsolete structures on Blaine Island. Late in the year the company began demolishing Building 701 at the South Charleston Technical Center.

Contact writer George Hohmann at or 348-4836.


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