The struggles with vacant corporate buildings and empty storefronts are no different in Tredyffrin Township than other parts of the region and across the country. In Tredyffrin, we have come to depend on a few of our corporate friends, those companies that have stepped up and helped the community over and over again.
One of those supportive, community-spirited corporate companies is Shire, an international pharmaceutical company whose headquarters are in Chesterbrook Corporate Center. Shire was instrumental in supporting the Wilson Farm Park opening, Tredyffrin 300 celebration, the annual summer concert program, etc. The list goes on and on with their community involvement to our township.
So it was very unsettling to read in the Daily Local the headlines ‘Shire considers alternatives to Chesterbrook’. Shire employs 1,100 in their corporate headquarters in Chesterbrook and leases four buildings from Liberty Property Trust, Pitcairn and Wells REIT. Shire currently leases 400,000 – 450,000 of office space in Tredyffrin. The company is in the early discussion stage on whether they should stay in Chesterbrook or find new headquarters when the first of their leases expires in 2016. Shire re-located to Chesterbrook in 2004 and signed an initial 12-year lease for their building.
The pharmaceutical giant has its global headquarter in Dublin, Ireland but according to the article; the company is committed to staying in the Philadelphia area. A representative for the company dismissed the suggestion that exploring other locations could be an attempt to “start a bidding war between competing states that would result in it receiving more government incentives.”
At this point, maybe the idea that Shire is ‘just looking’ at other options should not be reason for alarm or concern. Certainly Shire, like any company has to look at what makes good business sense. But reading this article, made me again think about the township’s Economic Development Committee – here is a case where this committee needs to move forward. I would suggest a proactive approach with Shire. Not only do Shire and its employees contribute greatly to the local economy through corporate building leases, real estate purchases by employees, etc., I would bet that this company has contributed more financially to the community through their generous sponsorships than other company in the township.
I suggest there needs to be a real push and incentive to have Shire keep its headquarters in Chesterbrook.
Economic Development Committee . . . where are you? Wouldn’t this be the time to reach out to Shire?