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SUMMIT, NJ-Top execs of Celanese AG, the Kronberg, Germany-based chemical giant, have informed local officials that they plan to shut down the company’s 400,000-sf research and administrative complex here. No specific closure date has been announced, although company officials say they expect to make their plans known by late summer.

According to a published report, Celanese is planning to consolidate its local operations, which entail some 300 staffers involved in administration, research and compounding, to newer facilities in the Southeast and Midwest. Most of the campus, which encompasses a dozen interconnected buildings on 45 acres, is occupied by Celanese’s Ticona Technical Polymers subsidiary.

Ticona, which produces engineered plastic products, has seven other locations around the country, and its facilities in Auburn Hills, MI, Shelby, NC and Florence, KY are said to be the destinations for the local operations. The facility here also serves as a regional headquarters for Ticona, but company officials won’t comment on which of the other locations will get that piece of the operation.

Celanese’s presence here dates back to the mid 1940s when the former Hoechst Celanese Corp. acquired an existing school building, which remains as a reception center on the current campus. The sprawling facility grew in several stages to its present size.

Company officials have given no indication of what they will do with the property, although observers expect it to hit the market for sale or lease. In any case, it will come onto a market that already features a glut of vacant space, both of the sublease and direct variety.

The Celanese decision is this Union County community’s second major corporate upheaval in two years. In the previous case, however, pharma giant Novartis’ announcement that it was vacating its campus here for a new location in East Hanover, NJ was followed quickly by Schering-Plough’s announcement that it would take over and expand Novartis’ facilities.

And while Celanese’s campus is expected to be marketed for commercial use, local officials are said to be eyeing potions of the 45-acre tract for possible recreational uses.

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