The long awaited decision from Vestas about where its North American headquarters would be built has finally come in. And Portland, Oregon – the location that has been announced is welcoming the decision with open arms. The city has been facing heavy unemployment issues and the new headquarters may add as many as 200 people to the already existing 400 in the Vestas America workforce.
Vestas, the wind power giant, currently occupies four Portland office buildings and expects to move in to the new headquarters during early 2012. The construction of the new building is expected to provide jobs to more than 670 construction workers. For the new headquarters, Pearl District’s former Meier & Frank Depot Building will be transformed into a clean-energy showpiece. This building was built in 1928, and will now be turned into a green-certified building with gardens on top; it will have an eco-roof terrace and central Portland’s largest solar-panel array. Reports say that historic preservation requirements interfered with Vestas’ initial plans to install rooftop windmills.
The project is budgeted at $66 million, and is backed by subsidies from the government. The creation of eco-friendly headquarters for Vestas will also paint Portland a deeper shade of green, strengthening the city as the nation’s capital for sustainable energy businesses. Sources say the building will be five-story high covering 194,000-square-feet. The complex will include a floor that could be converted from parking to offices, accommodating an additional 250 employees.
Initially, the project was pegged to have a new $250 million building in South Waterfront and job projections were at 1,200. Vestas, whose parent company has been facing setbacks in Denmark, chose Portland over several other cities, some of whom had offered more subsidies. But company officials say that the city really stood out as a place that supports the initiatives that Vestas is promoting. As of now, the state of Oregon will give$2.25 million to Vestas, and the company could also benefit from the cheap financing under the federal stimulus program.
Vestas Wind Systems has supplied more than 40,500 turbines globally since 1979. The company makes turbine components in Colorado; conducts research and development in Colorado and also in Texas, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.