A. O. Smith Corporation plans to build a new corporate research center near its world headquarters on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

The 42,700-sq-ft facility will house its Corporate Technology Center which focuses on advanced research and development in the areas of potable and hydronic water heating, water treatment, and air purification. The company plans to break ground for the project in September with an anticipated completion during the fourth quarter of 2018. The new building will be located at 11000 West Park Place.

“Research and innovation have been fundamental to A. O. Smith’s success for 143 years,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ajita G. Rajendra.  “Over the last several years, we have increased the size of our CTC team by 40% as we’ve entered the global water treatment and air purification markets. This new facility will give our team the capabilities to maintain our leadership position in these rapidly growing industries.

 “We expect this to be a showcase research center,” Rajendra continued.  “We will bring customers, suppliers, government officials, and community groups through this facility to share the latest developments in water heating and water treatment.”

 A. O. Smith has maintained a corporate research team since the 1920s and has occupied its current research facility on the city’s northwest side since 1984. The existing facility no longer fits the needs of the company, according to Senior Vice President-Chief Technology Officer Robert J. Heideman.

“When we moved to our current facility, A. O. Smith was made up of six operating units that were in a variety of industries,” Heideman said.  “Not only is the company significantly different today than it was more than 30 years ago, the technologies are substantially different as well. The team is excited to have a new space to carry out our mission.”

The new research center will include water heating and boiler performance test labs, water treatment labs, an air test lab, as well as a number of specialized development labs.

In addition, the new research center will have a prototype lab that can build product prototypes, test fixtures, and other equipment.

A. O. Smith is working with Milwaukee-based Irgens Partners, LLC as the developer of the project. Zimmerman Architectural Studios is the architect of the new research center. CBRE represented A. O. Smith in lease negotiations.