Monday, October 4, 2021

GSK moving out of Philadelphia Navy Yard to smaller space at FMC Tower

 Natalie Kostelni Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal

GlaxoSmithKline is relocating corporate operations now based at the Philadelphia Navy Yard into FMC Tower at Cira Centre South in University City, joining the University of Pennsylvania, Spark Therapeutics in the building and bringing it closer to one of the city's burgeoning life sciences hubs.

The global pharmaceutical company will be leasing 46,000 square feet at the skyscraper and shrink from 207,779 square feet it occupies at a four-story building at Five Crescent Drive at the Navy Yard. Prior to the pandemic, GSK had 660 employees working each day from the Navy Yard and it expects up to 330 employees to work from FMC Tower.

GSK (NYSE: GSK) will occupy floors 16 and 17 at FMC Tower that Brandywine Realty Trust has occupied for the last four years as its headquarters. Brandywine will relocate into space that had been occupied by Dechert, a law firm, in Cira Centre. Brandywine, which built and owns FMC Tower and Cira Centre, declined comment.

In 2011, GSK signed a 15-year lease on the Navy Yard building, which was designed for it, and completed its move there in early 2013. It was a big deal for the company when it decided to move to the South Philadelphia site and considered pioneering to relocate from offices it had been in for decades in Center City.

Along with its move to the Navy Yard, GSK redefined how office space was used and eschewed many of the traditional ways companies had used space. Gone were dedicated desks and cubicles and a hierarchy that designated expansive offices for executives that were located around the perimeter and often with the best views. Spaces at its Navy Yard building were designed to be open with some break out rooms for meetings and private conversations, and furniture was mobile and benching commonplace.

Many companies, viewing GSK as on the vanguard, mimicked the style of open office and space for employees on a per-square-foot basis shrunk and kept getting smaller. While there was growing backlash against open offices and smaller work spaces, the pandemic threw many of those design elements into question.

GSK expects to complete its move to FMC Tower early next year and, once it vacates the Navy Yard, will seek to sublease the space. Its lease runs until September 2028.

Five Crescent Drive was sold in 2018 for $130.5 million, or $628 a square foot, to an affiliate of Korea Investment Management Co. Ltd.

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