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United Technologies Corp.’s Climate Controls and Security division broke ground on Tuesday on its $115 million headquarters and building innovation showcase facility in Palm Beach Gardens that’s expected to create at least 380 jobs.
The company (NYSE: UTX) is building the 224,000-square-foot complex at the southeast corner of Interstate 95 and Donald Ross Road. It acquired the 30-acre site for $17.25 million in late 2015 and qualified for up to $10.56 million in local and state incentives to create the jobs with average wages of $85,000.
This division of UTC is a $17 billion business with 55,000 global employees.
UTC CCS President Bob McDonough said the Center for Intelligent Buildings would allow the company to show buildings can be built safely and efficiently by integrating its technology brands, including Carrier, Otis, Automated Logic, and Chubb. It would feature displays of high-efficiency air conditioning systems, security and fire safety systems, glass-enclosed models of working elevators and escalators and systems that monitor building energy use and security. It would have a 30,000-square-foot customer experience center and a 350-seat conference room to demonstrate its technologies.
"This center will serve as a living showcase, demonstrating the latest building technology and pioneering new concepts that will help our customers meet their needs efficiently, sustainably and intelligently,” McDonough said.
Business Development Board of Palm Beach County President and CEO Kelly Smallridge said UTC should have frequent visitors from around the world to its Center for Intelligent Buildings, so that should provide a boost for business travel and hotel stays.
UTC’s operations in Palm Beach Gardens will include a production and innovation team, so there will be plenty of engineers in addition to administrative, finance and human resource jobs. The company said applicants can go to UTC.com/careers to search open positions.
The Center for Intelligent Buildings should be completed sometime in 2017. The general contractor is Whiting-Turner.
The building will aim to achieve LEED Platinum status from the U.S. Green Building Council with environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels and rainwater recapture.
McDonough said UTC will increase its commitment to charities in Palm Beach County. The company, which has had its Pratt Whitney aerospace facility here for decades, will donate 3,500 smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to local fire stations to give to needy families and sponsor a fire safety and security awareness campaign.
“This is the ultimate economic development win for the county,” Smallridge said. “The quality of jobs, the innovation and the corporate leadership is exactly what we are looking for in recruiting.”
With the Scripps Research Institute and the Max Planck Society nearby, the North County area could become an innovation corridor and she hopes to attract more of these companies, Smallridge said. The land UTC is building on was previously deed-restricted for biotech and life science uses as part of the Scripps deal and Smallridge encouraged several governments to lift that restriction for this project. Most biotech companies can’t afford to spend big capital to build on a prominent site like this, so she hopes a broader range of technology and innovation companies will invest in the remaining land in North County.
“There are good prospects for the rest of this land,” Smallridge said.