It’s Official: Aramark Is Moving to the Schuylkill Waterfront
Aramark announced on Monday that it will move its global headquarters from Market East, where it’s been for the last 30 years, 13 blocks west to the Schuylkill River waterfront.
The new headquarters, slated for a soon-to-be-renovated building at 2400 Market Street developed by PMC Property Group, will be nine stories tall, up from the current four stories, Aramark CEO Eric Foss said. Aramark will occupy the top five floors. The announcement was made at Cira Green, across the river from the new headquarters, where attendees had a clear view of the new site and watched as the company unveiled a billboard advertisement where its new sign will sit.
Mayor Jim Kenney, who spoke at the event, had said in March that he was in regular contact with Foss and suggested that the company wouldn’t have to go through the usual hoops, like review by the Philadelphia Art Commission, in order to get its sign placed on top of its new building. It was reported in the spring that 2400 Market was at the top of the company’s list for new locations. Now it’s official.
The company also announced that it is making a $100,000 donation to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, which has made a host of improvements to the Schuylkill waterfront in the last few decades.
Governor Tom Wolf said at the event that the state had committed up to $10 million in public improvements as an incentive for Aramark to remain the city, though the details of those improvements haven’t been determined yet.
“It could be anything from — maybe it’s another SEPTA stop, maybe it’s improvement in the sidewalks, the landscaping, another park, things that will make the quality of life better for their employees but also anyone who wants to access it,” Wolf told reporters after the announcement.
Other state grants, including $10 million through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) and $550,000 for employee training, would bring the total state investment to more than $20 million, he said. Why is it worth spending that match to move a company a mile up the street?
“I think you have to look at this as an investment in making Philadelphia better,” Wolf said. “If it’s just about Aramark, right, that would not be right. That’s not what this is. In my mind, this is something you support because it’s going to make Philadelphia better.”
Karen Cutler, an Aramark spokeswoman, said that 1,200 employees would be moved into the new building in 2018, but wouldn’t share more specifics about the timeline of the development. The new location will give the company more space than it currently has at 1101 Market while condensing the workforce on fewer floors, she said.
“That wouldn’t have been possible in our existing location,” Cutler said. “It’s a great neighborhood. It’s been a great neighbor and home to us for 30 years, and I’m sure that neighborhood will continue to grow.”
The new facility will also have more parking than the current site has, and the building has agreed to provide a shuttle for employees coming from PATCO and 30th Street Station, Cutler said.
The building is designed by Gensler, with Varenhorst serving as the executive architect. The firms had submitted a design for the building at 2400 Market for Civic Design Review in May, but later pulled it from the agenda, according to reports.
This story has been updated to clarify that the building, not PATCO, will provide a shuttle for Aramark employees.
Follow @jaredbrey on Twitter.