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A rendering of Watlow's new Advanced Technology Center, planned for Maryland Heights. 

Watlow, the manufacturer and custom designer of industrial heaters, sensors and controllers, is adding a new $30 million technology center at its headquarters in Maryland Heights.

The company said it planned to renovate part of its 180,000-square-foot headquarters building as part of the project and add 30,000 square feet of space. With the expanded space, Watlow said, it plans to create 50 new jobs.

A research and development team now based in Fenton will move to the Maryland Heights facility. Watlow, a privately held company with about $350 million in annual revenue, has 2,000 employees, nine manufacturing facilities and three technology centers in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Asia.

“We really want this to be a hub that will facilitate the sharing of ideas and collaboration with our research and development activities and team members,” Steve Desloge, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said. “It’s essential for us to be able to continue to grow as we have been.”

Construction on the Advanced Technology Center is set to begin this fall, pending approval of state and local incentives, the company said.

Watlow has applied for state incentives based on job creation and investment through the Missouri Works Program.

“Missouri is leading the way in technology job growth, and continued investments by Missouri-grown companies like Watlow further establish the state as a high-tech job creation hub,” Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said in a statement.

Additionally, the St. Louis County Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a Chapter 100 tax abatement for the project, which is worth up to $4 million in local incentives. Final council action is expected in two weeks.

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Lisa Brown is Business Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.