3M selling its Four Points campus, Affects hundreds of local employees

3M innovation center

3M logo

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

3M is selling its 156-acre campus in Four Points at 6801 River Place Blvd. at the same time it is looking to relocate to another site in Austin. The move affects hundreds of local employees.

In 1988, employees started to fill the 11 new buildings of the 3M campus in Four Points, which are connected with walkways. Today the campus has 1.2 million-square-feet of space including offices, laboratories and an on-site co-generation utility plant that powers the 3M campus in Four Points.

Last week, 3M CEO Inge Thulin told nearly 800 of 3M’s Austin employees in an email that the Austin site “has served us well for many years, and as we assess new workspace options in the Austin, Texas area, we will explore opportunities for buyers of the current Austin site,” according to the Austin American-Statesman and local sources.

Local employees in Four Points span a range of fields including mechanical, chemical and electrical engineers and chemists. There are product managers and business to business technical support staffers in Four Points too.

Company spokeswoman Lori Anderson said last week that 3M is in the “early stages of assessing our options.” The company is looking for a new workspace in Greater Austin to “foster collaboration and innovation.”

Anderson said the sale and relocation is expected to take time. Company officials said this could take three to five years.

About 800 employees work at the site and will be moved to the new space once it is in operation, she said.

The sales price of the property has not been disclosed. The Statesman reports that the campus has an assessed value of more than $80 million, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District.

3M is only using a portion of the Four Points campus. The Four Points campus has capacity to office between 1,000 and 2,000 employees.

The 114-year-old innovation company that never stops inventing — from Post It notes and Scotch Guard to cell phone parts, fiber optics and touch screen hardware — came to Four Points when little else was here three decades ago.

The company acquired the land off of RM 2222 in the early 1980s and by the mid 1980s, 3M broke ground on its Four Points campus.

When the campus was built, the company needed a reliable source of power and that was an issue out here so to ensure electricity would not be interrupted, the company built its own utility plant.

This has been home to 3M’s global headquarters of the 3M Electronics and Energy Business Group. The local operations are the only one of 3M’s five business groups headquartered outside of St. Paul.

In a report by Four Points News two years ago, about 880 of the 1,100 3M employees in Austin worked at the Four Points campus and the remainder work at the 3M Research Boulevard plant site, which was the APC Industries‚ Inc. plant that 3M acquired in December 1982 making 3M’s first entry into Austin.

At its peak, there were some 1,800 3M employees at both Austin sites and then 2001, after the economic downturn, there were fewer than 1,000 staffers.

The local Electronics and Energy Business Group turns 3M technology into solutions for customers in electronics, energy, utility and infrastructure markets around the world. In the summer of 2014, local inventors helped the Fortune 500 company reach a milestone when it surpassed 100,000 patents.

3M’s manufacturing facility off Research Boulevard is not for sale.