Pattye Benson

Community Matters

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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  1. Also, the point needs to be made that Shire’s moving 500 employees out of their Tredyffrin Twp location starting in January 2015 could have an immediate and pronounced effect on TESD enrollment for the 2015-16 school year. Shire’s relocation of employees (and resulting potential decrease in T/E student enrollment) is unlike any property development projects that are in preliminary planning stages.

  2. Pattye,

    Forms are sent home with kids during the year asking about attendance the following school year. It asks what school the child will attend in the event the child will attend another school. I don’t recall what month these forms are sent out but the district can do it at anytime. It lists a return by date, and they are very good about collecting the information.

  3. Why is there such a large assumption that all of these people live in T/E? I would suggest based on the massive volume of cars that dump out of Shire and get on 202 to go home that this may not be the case.

    1. At this point there’s no way of knowing exactly how many of the 500 employees slated to relocate are either Tredyffrin or Easttown residents. But how about if there’s only 20% of the employees (100) relocating employees who are local residents with children TESD. If each of those employees had 2 school age children in TESD, that would be 200 kids leaving the school district.

      My suggestion is that if the school district looks at potential enrollment increases from Tredyffrin or Easttown Twps land development projects they should also consider potential decreases in enrollment in the same way. BTW, I think that both the proposed carriage houses at Wayne Glen and the townhouses at Chesterbrook Shopping Center projects are targeting people who are downsizing, 55+ and over — with optional elevators, etc. Obviously, there can still be school age children living in those two development projects.

  4. The unknown variables associated with this, make it very difficult to speculate about anything. No way all of these employees are going to make this move. Especially the most skilled and knowledgeable. This President and others in the Co. may have other motives they are not revealing. This is too weird.

    There is a 55+ community off of Sugartown Rd. in Berwyn. I see a handful of kids (little) hop on the school bus every morning from this development.

    1. The moves start in January — doesn’t give people alot of time to find another job. Economy being what it is, if I were a Shire employee and wanted to stay employed, I would be Boston-bound.

      1. Also, what’s the difference in speculating how many relocating Shires employees are TESD families versus using 55+ property development projects to gauge increase student enrollment. The difference is that those property development projects are being used to forecast student enrollment growth. It appears to me that is just as speculative.

      2. Shire most probably is giving severance packages to employees who are loosing their jobs. That gives them more time to look for employment that does not have include moving to Boston.

  5. They will look at potential decreases in enrollment from the Shire move after they send out the resident intention form to all 6,200 + students. The information will tell the district how many students intend to stay in the district and how how many students intend to leave the district the following year.

    They do the same thing for kindergarten enrollment. A notice goes out in probably January or February stating enrollment times and dates for all children in the district who reach 5 years of age by a certain date.

    I’ve seen data where births are tracked to determine possible enrollment trends 5 years down the road.

  6. Shire started dumping employees over a year a go.
    If you look at the parking lot it is now half full when it used to be at capacity.
    They stated that some will be hired in Boston.
    Right now those some will be few.
    They are set in Boston and 95% of the people In Chesterbrook are aware that their job is being done by someone already in Boston.
    Please note SHIRE took money from the state…the company is strong..but they still want more growth by consolidating. How do you resond to that. Do your homework..when a physician prescribes a med, when ever possible stay away from a SHIRE med.

  7. Another factor influencing enrollment numbers is the economy. I remember 6 years ago, 2007 – 2008, the 7th grade class at the TEMS ballooned, increasing enrollment in that one grade alone by 75 students. Many of these students came in from private schools, and some were relocations from outside the state. There is a lot of buzz now in the 8th grade class about which kids will stay and attend CHS and which kids and their families will choose a different path for the child. I don’t know what the number is , but a significant percentage of residents in this district, send their kids to private school. And the REAL unknown and impossible to predict is the influx of new students throughout the current school year. The average student class size at the TEMS is 27 students. Depending on how many move in during the year, class sizes could climb higher. The same is true for the opposite. Kids move out of the district too. It’s difficult to predict, but I do know for sure that the student population at the TEMS is at an all time high this year, which is why I grew concerned when I read Ray’s comment below:
    I was becoming hopeful that Dr. Gusick, despite coming from within the system, might be able to bring his critical thinking to District leadership. Hope does spring eternal, but I notice one Education Committee Agenda item that gives me pause: A proposal to return the “lost” free period to CHS teachers at the expense of increasing class sizes and the hiring of five FTEs. I don’t know how the Committee responded to this apparent attempt by the union to flex its muscles.

    That “at the expense of increasing class sizes” really gave me pause………..

  8. The new housing developments at Wayne Glen and Chesterbrook (about 300+ new units) are not restricted to 55+. Families with young children will be the primary buyers. Ask any local realtor about who is buying a house in T/E – especially desirable is newly- built housing stock.

    It’s entirely possible that the Shire move actually creates an increase in district enrollment. Surely, the population of T/E residents that work at Shire do not all have school age children. However, their homes will mostly appeal to families that do or soon will.

    1. I didn’t say that the land development projects were restricted to 55+, I said they were the target market. I have attended many planning commission meetings where the designs are discussed — elevators, first floor master bedrooms, etc. The developers explained that they based the design model for the older age group who want to remain in the community but who don’t want the upkeep of a larger property. But to speak to your point, yes – families can purchase the townhouses and carriage house, no restrictions.

  9. Call me skeptical, but I believe those designs were meant to accomplish zoning changes to benefit the developer. Will the developers of each project be held to those actual designs once the construction commences? I don’t believe that is possible. Once the zoning change was accomplished, the developers just have to follow the zoning ordinance. If the township really wanted the 55+ target to be effective, they would have implemented that restriction in the zoning. It will benefit the developers financially to appeal to the broadest part of the housing market.

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