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SUFFERN, NY-Avon Products, Inc.’s new $100-million Global Research & Development Center officially opened its doors on Monday. Avon chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Jung said the 225,000-sf building at One Avon Place, , built on the site where the company’s first research and development facility was constructed in 1887, “meshes the company’s past with its future.”

“This is where our roots are and this is where we wanted to stay,” Jung said. She described the opening of the new facility, which broke ground in August 2003, as “a pivotal moment for the company.”

Janice Teal, Avon’s chief scientific officer and group vice president, said, “This is a destination where we can attract and retain top talent, where we can find inspiration and creativity, and where we can collaborate and develop spectacular breakthrough products that will fuel Avon’s growth.”

The glass and steel-framed facility was designed by HLW International of New York City and built by Skanska USA Building of Parsippany, NJ, which served as the construction manager for the project. The building’s design offers the research and development staff interactive spaces, atriums, coffee bars and oval domed spaces that will serve as “think tanks” to promote team work as well as state-of-the-art laboratory space, Teal noted.

In May 2003 Avon shut down its manufacturing operations in Suffern when it shifted those functions to Springdale, OH. The worldwide cosmetics firm also had contemplated relocating its research and development functions out of state but reconsidered when local, county and New York State economic development officials stepped in.

Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef said the county, as well as the state and local governments, worked hard to keep Avon in Suffern and he was pleased that the firm’s new complex was completed. In May 2003 the Rockland Industrial Development Agency granted the company exemptions on state sales and mortgage taxes that were estimated at approximately $3.6 million. Avon also entered Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements with the Village of Suffern, the Town of Ramapo and the local school district. The New York State Empire State Development Corp. issued a $650,000 grant for the project. Company officials also said they received assistance from Orange & Rockland Utilities and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

In consideration of the incentives it received, Avon has pledged to increase its workforce at the Suffern complex to 350 in the next 10 years.

Avon boasts revenues of approximately $7.7 billion and maintains a workforce of 4.9 million independent sales representatives worldwide. The company, originally known as the California Perfume Co., was founded by Suffern resident David H, McConnell in 1886. Operations began in Suffern a year later with further construction of manufacturing and research space at the complex beginning in 1897.

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