Stellar Completes Design-Build of $50 Million Nestle Global R&D Center

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 28, 2015) – Stellar, a fully integrated firm focused on design, engineering, construction and mechanical services worldwide, has completed design-build services for Nestlé USA’s $50 million global research and development center. As the design-builder on the project, Stellar oversaw all architecture, engineering and construction for the 144,000-square-foot facility in Solon, Ohio. Stellar also designed and constructed the energy plant that serves the facility. Nestlé R&D Solon celebrated its grand opening July 22.

“While we’ve worked with Nestlé on more than 20 different projects over the years, this facility was especially rewarding, as it combined many of our capabilities in one project,” said Richard Lovelace, Stellar Divisional Vice President, Commercial. “The grand-opening timing is also gratifying, as we’re celebrating Stellar’s 30th anniversary this month. Our long-term relationships with companies like Nestlé are the foundation of our success and underlie everything we do.”

Nestlé R&D Solon is dedicated to transforming the way the world enjoys frozen and chilled foods, with a balanced focus on consumer-centered innovation and technology leadership. With 800 ingredients on hand for recipe development, the center is also devoted to product innovation, exploring ways to balance taste with nutrition in ways such as reducing sodium, saturated fat and more. 

The center includes test kitchens, production areas, an oven technology lab, a physical and analytical lab, a packaging and design test area and a consumer connect lab. The consumer connect lab facilitates live observations of consumer’s interactions with Nestlé products.

Nestlé R&D Solon also features a state-of-the-art sensory lab with 15 tasting booths, built with controlled lighting, humidity and sound to help researchers better understand the human response to food. In the facility’s culinary center, Nestlé teams work with food and beverage supplier-partners to observe first-hand how ingredients sourced for Nestlé products perform in recipes developed in the kitchen. These two areas feature high-end presentation kitchens equipped with cameras, TVs and other technology.

The facility also houses smaller “pilot plants” where the latest technology advances and new recipes can be evaluated and refined prior to marketplace introduction. For example, the “dough pilot plant” is dedicated to developing and testing frozen pizza and Hot Pocket sandwich recipes. The pilot plant can produce samples for consumer testing, shelf-life studies and evaluation of recipes’ performances prior to large-scale production.

Stellar designed and built office space for Nestlé R&D Solon as well. Unlike a traditional office building with fixed walls and dropped ceilings, the building’s design is based on an open concept with flexibility to promote collaboration and creativity. Large glass curtain walls with metal panels surround the exterior, while the interior features exposed structural elements and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

Nestlé R&D Solon exhibits sustainable design and is certified by the Green Building Initiative for Environmental & Energy Efficiency One Green Globe. The project’s green features include drought-tolerant landscaping, low-flow fixtures, recycled materials and emission minimization. The facility also uses all-natural refrigerants in both its mechanical and refrigeration systems.

About Stellar

Stellar is a fully integrated design, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm that provides the industry’s most comprehensive range of self-performed services, including planning, design, preconstruction, construction, refrigeration, mechanical and utility, building envelope, and total operations and maintenance services. More than 600 Stellar employees worldwide create award-winning food processing plants, refrigerated warehouses, distribution centers, commercial buildings and military facilities. In addition to its Jacksonville, Florida, headquarters and its Western Region office in Modesto, California, Stellar operates nearly 25 support locations and offices throughout the United States and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, China and Puerto Rico. The company also serves Central and South America, Europe and India. For more information, visit