Axalta has celebrated the official opening of its Global Innovation Center, the largest coatings research and development (R&D) center in the world, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The 175,000-foot Global Innovation Center offers specialty labs, as well as office space. Its location in Philadelphia’s historic Navy Yard enables collaboration among Axalta employees, business partners and customers throughout the Philadelphia area and beyond.
“Axalta’s Global Innovation Center will become the central hub for our global research, product development and technology initiatives where we develop and deliver the most innovative coatings products in the world,” said Robert Bryant, interim chief executive officer, Axalta. “Whether in color technology, polymer and formulation chemistry, or application knowledge, the world-class capabilities and talent at Axalta’s Global Innovation Center will fuel new products and deliver the solutions that our customers want to grow their businesses into the future.”
Bryant and Barry Snyder, chief technology officer for Axalta, were joined at the ceremony by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, PIDC President John Grady, Liberty Property Trust Senior Vice President and Regional Director John Gattuso, and Axalta employees. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf also provided remarks, heralding Axalta’s economic contributions to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with current and future jobs planned for the Global Innovation Center, in addition to those presently provided by the company in Philadelphia, Glen Mills and Exton.
“The City of Philadelphia is known for the innovative spirit that founded our nation,” said Mayor Kenney. “This spirit still permeates today with countless companies choosing our city to put down roots for growth. Five years ago, Axalta showed its commitment to Philadelphia by relocating its global headquarters to Center City. Today, they open the doors to the Global Innovation Center, bringing new, highly-skilled jobs to Philadelphia. I thank Axalta for their contributions to our region and wish the company many prosperous years at the Navy Yard.”
The Navy Yard location offers an attractive workplace for new talent, and the Axalta campus was built with researchers in mind, modeling an academic setting with a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces to foster teamwork and creativity.
“Axalta’s team of scientists and technicians at the Global Innovation Center will develop next-generation coatings products and keep pace with emerging application needs,” said Snyder. “Regulations and customer demands call for newer technologically advanced coatings. The increasing use of lightweight plastic and composite materials in vehicles to save fuel require new coatings formulations. Developing products to suit these and other needs will be the mission of the Global Innovation Center and Axalta’s worldwide research and development network.”
Added John Grady, president of PIDC, “There has been a long history of innovation at the Navy Yard, from the design and construction of state-of-the-art battleships and commercial vessels to today’s leading companies working on innovations like therapies to treat cancer, electric microgrids, energy efficiency buildings, and now coatings and color technologies that are used on products all around the world. We are proud to gather today with our partners to cut the ribbon on Axalta’s Global Innovation Center at the Navy Yard and continue this tradition of innovation for years to come.”
The building, which is owned and developed by Liberty Property/Synterra, was designed by Erdy McHenry and merges design elements present throughout the Navy Yard. The front of the building is reminiscent of the classically inspired buildings preserved in the adjacent historic core of the Navy Yard, while the back of the building resembles the lofts and warehouse facilities nearby. The front of the building also features a two-story glass façade to maximize daylight while utilizing angled vanes to reduce glare and shade staff from the low angles of the late afternoon sun.
“Today we celebrate this exceptional new building and our strong partnership with Axalta, which entrusted Liberty with the important job of designing and developing their first Global Innovation Center,” said John Gattuso, senior vice president and regional director for Liberty Property Trust. “As the hub for vital research and development functions, every detail of the building has been arranged with the intention to excite and inspire all who work or visit. In the Navy Yard, Axalta will also benefit from the campus-like and collaborative environment set among many other leading-edge companies in their respective fields.”
The morning ribbon-cutting began with a ceremonial rendition of the national anthem by the choir of Serviam Girls Academy, based in New Castle, Del. Axalta has partnered with Serviam as part of its commitment to STEM education, which includes the Axalta All-Pro Teachers Program with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Science Festival with the Franklin Institute, and several other programs that honor STEM educators and students throughout Greater Philadelphia, North America and other regions globally.
After the public ribbon-cutting ceremony, Axalta hosted more than 100 customers for a first look of the Global Innovation Center with tours of the facility. For more information about Axalta’s Global Innovation Center, visit Axalta.com.