Mallinckrodt Planning North Riverfront Expansion in Excess of $200 Million

One of St. Louis’ oldest companies will soon commence with a major expansion at its historically significant north riverfront campus. nextSTL has learned Mallinckrodt will kick off development with a new $80 million building later this year at their 45-acre North 2nd St. production complex.

Mallinckrodt is the largest U.S. supplier of opioid pain medications and among the top 10 generic pharmaceuticals manufacturers in the U.S., based on prescriptions. The company is also one of the world’s leading producers of bulk acetaminophen. Mallinckrodt revenue totaled $2.2 billion in 2013.

Following completion of the initial project, Mallinckrodt intends to invest approximately $200 million between 2015 and 2020 at the North Riverfront Commerce Corridor production site. The expansion will feature demolition of existing structures and construction of four hydrocodone and oxycodone manufacturing buildings. A new sprayer facility will also be built.

The timing of the production expansion coincides closely with the impending release of a highly anticipated Mallinckrodt drug. Xartemis XR, an acute pain drug that is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen received FDA approval in March. The drug is expected to be a revenue creating machine for the company.

Mallinckrodt PR materials say the drug was specifically formulated to abate opioid abuse. All opioids can be abused, but Xartemis XR utilizes technology that requires much extra effort to extract the active ingredient from a legion of inactive and deterrent ingredients.

An inactive ingredient called polyethylene oxide makes the tablets much more difficult to crush, break or dissolve. When dissolved in a liquid, Xartemis XR becomes an unpalatable coagulated amalgam. This makes it more troublesome to draw the substance into a syringe for intravenous administration.

According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources the Mallinckrodt campus consists of more than 50 manufacturing and support buildings covering twelve city blocks. Plant support facilities include maintenance shops, research and control laboratories, warehouses, a boiler, and a wastewater treatment plant. A levee, built by the Army Corps of Engineers, protects the facility along the riverfront from the threat of floodwater.

The facility also operates numerous aboveground tanks for the bulk storage of fuel and both organic and inorganic chemicals. Due to recent procedural changes and the addition of a new container storage area and bulk storage tank for less than 90-day storage, the company no longer stores hazardous waste at the site for more than 90 days.

Between 1982 and 2012 company ownership changed several times. Mallinckrodt most recently spun off from Covidien as an independent public company in 2013. The company has regularly beaten earnings estimates since the spinoff. This includes gains of at least 15% in their last two reports.

McCarthy has drafted and been regularly revising an expansion plan for the company. They will share leadership responsibilities on the project with longtime Mallinckrodt contractor Rhodey Construction. Additional components of the project will include a new chiller, cooling tower, and construction of a utility bridge on Destrehan St.

The company was founded by three North St. Louis brothers in 1867. It was the first chemical manufacturing company west of the Mississippi. Mallinckrodt Chemical Works was constructed at the North 2nd St. site in 1882 on 39 acres of farmland owned by the brother’s father. Emile Mallinckrodt was a prosperous farmer and successful real estate investor.

Mallinckrodt’s production operations at the north riverfront campus were vital to the Manhattan Project during World War II. In 1942, just 100 yards west of the McKinley Bridge, the plant was producing a ton of uranium per day. The production helped ensure U.S. atomic supremacy.

Reached by nextSTL, Mallinckrodt representative Lynn Phillips commented, “Nearly a year after our spin off into an independent company, Mallinckrodt continues to invest in all of our St. Louis facilities, including our downtown plant.  However, it’s important to note that we are still refining our timeframe and our numbers, so it is too soon to say how much we plan to spend or when the projects will commence.”

  • John R

    they just fired 5% of the workers at the N. 2nd plant.

  • Chris Meyers

    Huge Apartment tower??? Very interesting..

  • Jed

    Wonder if the 2015-2022 $200m hinges on a $70m interchange on I-70 in north city

  • Don

    Beginning in 1942, this very plant produced hundreds of tons of pure uranium oxide (as much as one ton per day) for the Manhattan Project. If not the sole supplier of uranium for the project, Mallinckrodt was certainly the largest single supplier. After the war ended, Mallincrkrodt continued to produce pure uranium at this cite for the AEC until 1957, when production moved to Weldon Springs.

    I’m thrilled to see additional investment as opposed to abandonment.

  • Phil Valko

    Thanks for sharing the news. This investment has the potential to be catalytic for the North Riverfront corridor, if done well. The district currently is an industrial wild west with seemingly no standards for property maintenance or environmental compliance. Although not particularly beautiful, the current Mallinckrodt structures are at least maintained better than the rest of the district. With N Broadway as a major City corridor, running parallel to a major recreational corridor, City leadership and neighbors should look to Mallinckrodt to develop in a way that anchors the district as a place where talent workers would want to spend time, instead of the current wasteland of post-industrial detritus. It will be in the best long-term interest of Mallinckrodt as an employer and the best interest of the City, which hopes to see more triple bottom line value produced from this critical strip of riverfront land.

    • Geoff Whittington

      Thanks. I have also heard another company within the North Riverfront Commerce Corridor is contemplating a substantial expansion. Waiting for more information.

      • John R

        P&G has been making some substantial investments on E. Grand as well. Hopefully we can achieve some decent level of jobs/industry with community, recreation and sustainability as things move forward.

        • Geoff Whittington

          Absolutely. Henkel Corp. (Renuzit) as well. Community, recreation, and sustainability shouldn’t be an afterthought. Rather a focal point for the entire North Riverfront Commerce Corridor. I really hope these expansions do not just include the means for production.

      • tpekren

        Geoff, Some interesting comments in Post Dispatch industrial properties article on what might be coming through Green Streets development for their north and south side properties. Not sure if this is what your referring to in your comment above. Either way, could you do a post if you have any info to add. PD couldn’t name names but sounds like some square footage, and more importantly, jobs. These posts to me are just as important for the region as the next proposed apartment tower.

        • Geoff Whittington

          I agree. Pardon me for the shameless teaser, but I am currently sitting on a huge apartment tower item. While waiting for the go ahead I am compiling an item regarding a corporate expansion in West County. Will definitely mean more jobs. I will have an update for you with what more I know about additional North Riverfront Commerce Corridor activity by next weekend. Thank you.

          • John R

            Is this mythical tower east of Skinker?

          • Chris Meyers

            Geoff…any updates on the huge apartment tower? Thanx

          • Alex Ihnen

            Don’t mean to butt in, well I guess I do, but timelines on rumors, developing stories, and proposals are unpredictable. You can be sure then when we have something we feel good about, it’ll go live in a hurry. With the pace of development in the city, I’d expect several proposals in the coming weeks and months.

          • Chris Meyers

            Thanks Alex…Yea, I should know better but I’m anxious to see St. Louis finally get some vertical development!

  • Big Earl

    Is there an address for this site?……it won’t let me click on the picture to take a look.

    • Geoff Whittington

      3600 N. 2nd St.

  • Adam

    good news, though i suspect we’ll be saying goodbye to some significant historic buildings. *sigh*