Syngenta’s rumored plans for a new research facility in the Triangle became a reality on Friday.

The Switzerland-based company, which already has a large presence in the Research Triangle, formally announced plans to invest $71 million in the new Syngenta Biotechnology complex. Some 400 people already work at the RTP campus. Syngenta has maintained a presence in the Park since 1984.

The company plans to add 15 jobs initially.

Construction is set to begin next month.

Covering 147,000 square feet, the site will include all-glass, climate-controlled greenhouses. Another feature will be what Syngenta calls “precision growth chambers” that utilize technology developed by NASA.

“We’re very excited about the capabilities this new facility will enable,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, president of Syngenta Biotechnology, in a statement. “These sophisticated growth environments will help our researchers study traits with greater precision and efficiency, ultimately leading to discoveries that will enhance plant productivity.”

Syngenta recently was awarded more than $200,000 in tax incentives by Durham County if it chose the Triangle for a new building.

“This investment demonstrates our commitment to R&D and to remain at the forefront of plant genetics research,” said Sandro Aruffo, Syngenta head of research and development, in a statement. “The advanced technologies that will be implemented at this new site will accelerate our R&D efforts to develop agronomic traits that will enable crops to better withstand complex environmental challenges.”

Syngenta seeks to improve crop yields and resistance to disease through the use of technology such as genetics, the goal being better crops.

The new facility is expected to open in 2012.

Syngenta employs some 26,000 people in more than 90 countries.

Crops of interest include corn and soybeans as well as sugar cane, cereals, rice and vegetables.

For more about the expansion, read here.

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