While many of us have been online or at the mall shopping for gifts, the management of West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. has been out shopping for a new corporate headquarters.
The maker of plastic packaging and injectable- drug-delivery systems found what it wanted about two miles from its current offices in Lionville, where it has been since 1993.
With its lease in Lionville due to expire in 2012, West Pharmaceuticals has struck a deal with the Hankin Group for a build-to-suit headquarters in the Eagleview Corporate Center, also in Chester County.
Plans call for a 170,000-square-foot building for offices and laboratories, according to a filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Construction is scheduled to begin by mid-2011 with completion set for December 2012.
According to West's website, the company has about 325 employees at its Lionville global headquarters, where its research and development operations are housed. The company has more than 6,000 employees around the world.
The new headquarters, to cost about $30 million, based on a budget breakdown in the SEC filing, would include 41,000 square feet of laboratory space. Annual rent on a 15-year lease for the new headquarters would start at about $4 million in the first year, 2013, West said in the filing.
At Eagleview, West would be joining other public companies, such as avionics-maker Innovative Solutions & Support Inc. and antibiotics developer ViroPharma Inc., as well as Bentley Systems Inc., a privately held software developer that employs 2,800 worldwide.
With 2009 revenue of $1.06 billion and a market value of $1.4 billion, West would probably be the biggest company to be based in the 565-acre Eagleview Corporate Center.
Word of a new corporate headquarters may not sit well in central Pennsylvania, where West will begin closing a plastic-components factory next month. That decision will cost about 170 people their jobs.
On the move
West Pharmaceuticals was far from the only company checking out new office space in 2010.
The Philadelphia region did see quite a bit of movement of headquarters by its publicly held companies.
The consulting firm LECG Corp. moved from Emeryville, Calif., to Devon after its March acquisition of Smart Business Advisory & Consulting, which had been based here.
In mid-August, retail-security-systems-maker Checkpoint Systems Inc. moved its headquarters and about 20 people into Center City from its longtime home in Thorofare, Gloucester County.
South Jersey lost another headquarters when Dynasil Corp. of America moved to Watertown, Mass., from West Berlin. That move, made to put the executive team closer to a concentration of its operations in the Boston area, affected about 20 jobs.
However, South Jersey gained a headquarters in the fall when Central European Distribution Corp. moved its tiny offices to Mount Laurel from Bala Cynwyd. Outside of a Burlington County toeprint, all of the operations for the maker of vodka and other liquor are in Europe.
VWR International Inc. completed the relocation of its headquarters in October to a 150,000-square-foot building in Radnor from two buildings near West Chester. (VWR isn't publicly held, but it does still report its financial results to the SEC.)
In September, Gardner Denver Inc. said it would move its headquarters from Quincy, Ill., to the Philadelphia area, bringing about 50 jobs here. The industrial-equipment-maker is leasing 21,000 square feet in a building at 1500 Liberty Ridge Dr., Wayne, and is expected to move there during the spring.
But the prize for the farthest corporate relocation goes to Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc., which moved its corporate functions this fall to Singapore from Fort Washington.
HQs tend to be where CEOs are. When Kulicke & Soffa hired Bruno Guilmart in the summer, it said that he would be based in Singapore, closer to many of the customers for its semiconductor assembly equipment. The company still has about 200 people at its engineering operations in Fort Washington.