Inside Chobani’s Massive, Sustainable New Innovation Center

Yogurt giant Chobani has made it a practice to hire refugees to work at its manufacturing plants. As anti-immigrant rhetoric has soared, Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya reportedly received death threats for the practice (both of the company’s plants are in conservative areas), despite creating new jobs with solid benefits in communities that could use them.

Now the company is doubling down on retaining its growing workforce at its Twin Falls, Idaho, plant by giving those employees a massive innovation and community center that adjoins the world’s largest yogurt plant. In doing so, Chobani joins the ranks of companies creating shiny new spaces for workers. The 71,000-square-foot edifice is topped with a 14,000-square-foot research and development lab with a full test kitchen to help spur more yogurt innovations.

Unlike some of the walled gardens created by tech companies, it’s meant to be a shared space for both the community and the people actually making its products: workers at the adjoining yogurt plant. The angular, three-story building is flanked by two open courtyards. It’s been designed with enough sustainable features to hopefully meet LEED silver certification.

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