Thursday, February 9, 2017

Seed Development to relocate HQ to Lehigh Valley

Michelle Caffrey Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal

Greater Philadelphia isn’t the only region in the tri-state area with tech ambitions.

Seed Development, a small software consultancy startup, is relocating its headquarters from New York to downtown Allentown, according to a Tuesday announcement. The move shows the Lehigh Valley's progress in its own quest to draw more tech companies into its midst.

“Lehigh Valley as a region has really grown in the technology sector,” said Laura Eppler, the director of marketing for Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the local arm of the statewide early-stage funding and economic development initiative. “We’ve created with our colleagues [in economic development] a tech-based ecosystem that is really very attractive.”

Matt Pavelko, Seed Development's CEO, said he felt that attraction.

The Lehigh Valley native sees the region’s position north of Philadelphia and west of New York — in addition to the major higher education institutions in the area — as key elements to drawing in the talent the fast-growing firm wants. It also has rents far below New York’s, and a lower cost of living, but Pavelko said the cost efficiencies don’t mean they’ll be trimming wages.

“There are economic advantages to being in Allentown. Rent is unsurprisingly more affordable than in Manhattan, and the cost of living is generally a bit lower than in NYC as well. The latter translates into us not paying lower salaries – but being able to hire stronger talent for a given salary range as compared to NY,” Pavelko, who is out of the country with the company’s executive team, wrote in an email to the Philadelphia Business Journal. “We do our best to pass those types of economic advantages to our employees in the form of healthcare that is almost entirely paid for by the company, and a company matched 401k program. In short, we felt that we could be a better employer here.”

While Seed will maintain offices in New York and Charlotte, North Carolina, its new headquarters and bulk of its employees will be located in a 5,200 square-foot office with exposed brick, open space and high ceilings located in Allentown’s $400 million mixed-use development City Center Lehigh Valley. Officials credit the development with helping spur revitalization in the downtown area. The core of the 1 million square-foot City Center is a new arena, the PPL Center, that is surrounded by Class A office towers, the Velocity coworking space, apartments, retail shops, a hotel and upscale restaurant space.
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