Flemming Ornskov

Shire moving Chesterbrook headquarters to Boston – 500 employees expected to leave Tredyffrin

Office Chair with a Box of SuppliesSadly, we learned this morning in Joe DiStefano’s Philadelphia Inquirer column that one of Tredyffrin Township’s largest employers is moving the company headquarters from Chesterbrook to Boston.

In the Fall of 2012, Shire announced a decision to build a new large office complex on Trammel Crow property at the intersection of Rt. 29 and Yellow Springs Road, moving their 1,500 employees out of Tredyffrin to neighboring East Whiteland.  Shire’s decision to relocate meant the vacancy of four large corporate buildings in Chesterbrook.

However, in May 2013, Shire reversed their decision to move their headquarters from Chesterbrook.  After analyzing its ‘global footprint and its real estate presence’, Shire’s new CEO Dr. Flemming Ornskov, concluded, “We feel fine where we are.”

However, eighteen months later, comes today’s announcement that Shire’s headquarters will not only leave the Philadelphia area, it will move to Massachusetts.  What is curious is the same Dr. Ornskov, now says, he prefers Boston (he has a graduate degree from Harvard) and a Shire spokesperson says, “Our strategy is to become a leading biotechnology company, and Boston is a biotech center”.

Mixed messages from Dr. Ornskov to his employees!  If the move had been a relocation to East Whiteland, as was his plan originally, Shire employees would have probably have retained their local jobs and their homes (many of whom no doubt are Tredyffrin residents with children in the TE School District).  Just when the Shire employees thought that they were staying put in the Chesterbrook location, they receive today’s relocation announcement.  According to DiStefano’s article, more than half of the Chesterbrook employees will make the move, “Shire plans to move 500 staff — executives, research and development staff and the gastrointestinal, internal medicine and neuroscience business groups — to Lexington, Mass., near the company’s infectious-disease unit.”

Shire plans to start moving its employees in phases, starting in the first quarter of 2015, with completion by the first quarter of 2016. The TE School District has forecasted a potential increase in student enrollment from current township development projects and has held discussion on how the District will meet the increase.  Inasmuch as the school board discusses potential increase in enrollment from District development projects, will they likewise discuss how the relocation of 500 Shire families out of the community may potentially decrease the District’s enrollment.

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Great Economic News — Shire changes its mind, not moving from Tredyffrin Township!

Last fall, we learned that Shire was planning to move its headquarters from its current Chesterbrook location to Atwater Business Park in neighboring East Whiteland Township when their lease expired. Located in Chesterbrook since 2004, Shire planned to build a new large office complex on Trammel Crow property at the intersection of Rt. 29 and Yellow Springs Road, moving their 1,500 employees out of Tredyffrin.  Shire’s decision to relocate meant the vacancy of four large corporate buildings in Chesterbrook.

Today’s Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Shire has reversed their decision to move their headquarters from Chesterbrook.  After analyzing its ‘global footprint and its real estate presence, Shire’s new CEO Dr. Flemming Ornskov, concluded, “We feel fine where we are.”

Shire had a signed development agreement and plans were well underway for the company’s move to East Whiteland.  According to the article, the real estate project was to construct 10 buildings totally 1.15 million square feet of office space on 110 acres.  Phase one was to be four buildings at an estimated cost of $175 million.  Although certainly good economic news for Tredyffrin, East Whiteland not only loses this major development project but also the financial rewards of 1,500 new employees paying earned income tax.  Does make me wonder what cancelling the agreement cost Shire … but certainly a lot less than $175 million!

Beyond the obvious economic impact, Shire is a great community contributor and supporter — the summer concert series, annual fireworks, Shire Pavilion in Wilson Farm Park, Tredyffrin 300 sponsorship and the list goes on and on.  Shire has been there for the Tredyffrin Township community whenever needed and it’s exciting that they are staying here!

Responding to Shire’s decision not to leave the township, Tredyffrin Towsnship Board of Supervisors Chair Michelle Kichline offered the following comment —

The Board of Supervisors is pleased that Shire has decided to remain in Tredyffrin Township. Not only is Shire a world class pharmaceutical company; it is an outstanding community partner. Shire is a long time major sponsor of our Fourth of July fireworks and our summer concert series.

The Township will continue its efforts to attract and maintain businesses, like Shire, that help improve the quality of life in our community and provide jobs to our residents.

Michelle Kichline
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors

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