3M unveils new $150M research facility in Maplewood

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This is 3M's new, $150 million research and development facility, which officially opened on Friday.

The 470,000 square foot lab at its Maplewood headquarters will house some 700 scientists charged with coming up with innovative ideas to make products more useful, or solve real-world problems.

The company – which manufactures a huge range of products, but is perhaps best known for being the maker of Post-it Notes and Scotch tape – has described the new facility not just as an investment in research and development, but also "an investment in the state of Minnesota."

The Star Tribune reports the new building has an open design with "a lot of natural light," with 3M scientists previously housed in various buildings on the company's sprawling 400-acre campus said to be excited about their new workplace.

"This space represents an opportunity to work differently," Lee Stanek, of 3M Aerospace and Commercial Transportation, said in a press release. "Sometimes that’s enough to cause you to think in a different way. Just like visiting customers, you see things in new ways. We are working in a different space, collaborating with different people – we don’t know yet what can happen."

The Fortune 500 company says it has invested $8.5 billion into R&D in the last five years alone, increasing the proportion of sales revenue it spends on research from 5.3 percent in 2011 to 5.8 percent today.

The Pioneer Press reports the building's opening was attended by state dignitaries, among them Gov. Mark Dayton, who said: "It is impossible to overstate the importance of 3M to Minnesota. 3M presents the very best face of Minnesota every day, all over the world."

MPR reports the lab took three years to build, with the company getting nearly $10 million in local tax increment financing and a state sales tax break to help with the construction.

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