By late spring, the seven-story building in Cherry Hill where Subaru of America based its U.S. operations for more than 30 years will be demolished.
Subaru hopes a cleared property will be more attractive to potential buyers. The site was originally listed for sale last year but the company elected not to accept the offers they received, according to Subaru officials, who did not disclose the asking price for the land.
Since the company relocated its corporate headquarters to Camden last spring, the 16-acre site along Route 70 has sat unused. Subaru still pays local taxes on the property and hired a security firm to patrol the premises.
In February, fencing went up around the complex to begin the demolition — both inside and out.
“I kind of equate it to ‘death by paper cut,' " said Keith Metzger, director of Corporate Real Estate & Administration for Subaru of America. “It will be a lengthy process of taking the building down.”
Subaru says it hopes to be environmentally conscious with the demolition. Subaru expects to recycle 75 percent of the building material, which includes steel, copper, concrete, and glass. Demolition is scheduled to conclude by late spring. After the building is gone, the company will relist the property for sale, according to Metzger.
The plot is currently zoned for “highway business," which means office, retail, and hospitality uses can be built on the site, according to Metzger. Sitting on the side of a bustling highway, the property can be seen by tens of thousands of cars driving by daily and is 10 minutes away from Center City Philadelphia.
Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn said he is confident the property will be bought and put to use because of development already underway on the other side of Route 70. Cahn said he is looking forward to working closely with the next developers and hopes the property will be sold for commercial plans.
“We are very open to any type of developer who wishes to reutilize this site for a higher and better use," Cahn said. “Cherry Hill’s a great place to be. It’s the hub of South Jersey, certainly the county, and is within four miles of a major metropolitan area."
Cahn said he is optimistic about the future of Cherry Hill’s development, adding that the parcel is in a prime location for commercial offices.
“Anything that fits within the zoning would be appropriate,” Cahn said. “We’re not looking for more apartments, but I think there’s been a lot of positive development.”
Cahn said residential development at the former Subaru property is not an option because of a floodplain that sits in the back of the plot that would make affordable units “far too expensive” for developers. The land would also need to be rezoned for residential use, he said.