BMW Manufacturing Announces Construction Projects
Officials from BMW Manufacturing Co. announced three new construction projects today. The company also updated the public on existing construction projects that relate to the incentive package that was granted to BMW in 2002 when it invested an additional $400 million in the factory and created 400 new jobs.
The new projects announced include a testing facility adjacent to the BMW Performance Center, the creation of a Process Development Center and the acquisition of the old TNS Mills building adjacent to the factory, which is being refurbished for use as a Parts Logistics Center.
BMW Testing Facility:
Approximately 75 additional acres were acquired for the testing facility near the BMW Performance Center located across U.S. 101 from the factory. The testing facility will be built to perform manufacturing testing. Construction on the $9 million facility began in September and should be operational in the first quarter of 2006.
Process Development Center:
Located near the BMW Analysis Center behind the factory, the 13,800-square foot Process Development Center will link BMW with its North American suppliers. It will also provide pre-production evaluation of supplier components for U.S.-made BMW vehicles (the Z4 and X5). Construction on the $3 million Process Development Center began in August and will be completed in December 2005.
Parts Logistics Center:
Construction has already begun to transform the former TNS Mills building into the BMW Logistics Center where parts can be staged to be transported to the factory. The 55-acre site located adjacent to the BMW factory was acquired as part of the incentive package with the state. BMW will spend approximately $10 million to refurbish the site.
BMW officials also provided updates to certain projects, including BMW’s Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) that will be located on the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus and construction that is taking place at the Brockman-McClimon interchange at Interstate 85.
Brockman-McClimon Interchange Update:
As part of the state incentive package, the state Department of Commerce allotted $40 million for Interstate 85 improvements at the Brockman-McClimon Road interchange near BMW Manufacturing to accommodate future traffic and capacity increases. Managed by the state Department of Transportation, the project is ahead of schedule and should be completed in June of 2006. The new Brockman-McClimon intersection with S.C. 101 has already opened.
Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) Update:
Construction is nearly complete on the $15 million BMW Information Technology Research Center located on the Clemson International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) campus in Greenville. BMW is the first company to complete its building, and associates are already working in the 80,000 square-foot, four-story facility.
The mission of the facility is to develop information technology processes used in product development, manufacturing and services processes in the vehicle. It will house laboratories where research will be conducted, open office areas with information technology lab space to be shared with partnering companies, secured research areas and incubator space.
The company also went to great lengths to preserve and protect the environment prior to beginning to construct the BMW ITRC (see Environmental Addendum).
To date, BMW has invested $2.2 billion in its 2.4 million-square-foot plant in Spartanburg County. The factory began production in late 1994, and vehicle production has grown to about 970,000 vehicles (through October 2005), which is helping BMW Group achieve its goal of increasing worldwide production to 1.3 million vehicles by 2007.
The Spartanburg County factory is an integral part of BMW’s global production network, and one out of seven BMWs sold throughout the world was produced at the South Carolina facility.
Employment has grown steadily at BMW Manufacturing. In 1992 when BMW announced it would locate its first full manufacturing facility outside of Germany in South Carolina, the company pledged to employ 2,000 associates by the year 2000. BMW employed 3,000 associates by year 2000 and today, approximately 4,500 associates work at the Upstate factory.
BMW Manufacturing Co. is a subsidiary of the BMW Group based in Munich, Germany. Its website address is www.bmwusfactory.com. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW’s North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America, and a design firm in California.
The BMW Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) located on Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research campus in Greenville contains a variety of habitats from hardwood and pine trees, to a pond and stream (Laurel Creek).
BMW and Clemson went to great lengths to protect the environment and create a campus that centers around the area’s natural habitat. Prior to any land being cleared, Clemson botanists and professors visited the 500-acre site and made recommendations on how to best protect the land. Clemson already has plans to develop a curriculum around the land, build nature walks, and apply for its Wildlife and Industry Together (WAIT) certification.
BMW and Clemson also invited Rudy Mancke, a world-renowned naturalist and conservationist, and 25-year host of NatureScene television program, Angela Viney from the Wildlife Federation, and Skip Still from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, to walk and inspect the site, and develop a plan that enables both wildlife and the facilities to prosper.
The team identified sensitive plants, animals and ecosystems before any decisions were made on the exact location of buildings. This enabled Clemson and BMW to preserve the special natural features while also developing the new campus. All buildings on the campus will be preferentially located in areas that have the least impact on the sensitive natural features.
“Most developers cut and tear down first,” Mancke said. “[BMW and Clemson] are doing it before the project. This is a great model for developers. This way you can find out what is unique and special about your property and protect it, as well as build around it.”
Specific examples of recommendations made from experts that are being followed:
- BMW will create an Upland Meadow habitat this spring under the advisement of Skip Still from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and Clemson University’s Dr. Bill Stringer. According to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, upland meadows are a primary lost habitat in our region.
- Under the advisement of a Clemson University arborist, pruning and root excavation have been taken to prevent damage to limb structures.
- Under the advisement of the City of Greenville, precautions have been taken to prevent any sedimentation of Laurel Creek, such as reinforced check dams, double sedimentation fencing and storm water runoff channeling.
“We want to maintain a natural environment,” said Bob Geolas, executive director of Clemson’s research campus. “We have a huge responsibility to protect the environment, and we are paying special attention to the land in order to preserve it. We don’t want to make mistakes and lose something that we can’t replace. The only thing that we’ve cleared is kudzu, pine trees that were affected with pine beetles, underbrush and some non-native species. The removal of non-native species is a sound and sustainable strategy encouraged and endorsed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. What we’ve taken out will not harm the environment; it will actually help it to thrive. The future site will be far better than the one we started with.”