Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Natalie Kostelni
A year after Brandywine Realty Trust began a $29.7 million redevelopment of 500 N. Gulph Road in King of Prussia, the project, which involved gutting the entire structure originally built in 1979, has been completed.
With that work done, CSL Behring moved into the entire 100,820-square-foot building nearly two weeks ago, expanding its presence in King of Prussia. The biopharmaceutical company now occupies 350,000 square feet across five buildings in the community. It leases space at 1000, 1020, 1040 and 1060 First Ave. in the Maschellmac Office Complex roughly a mile away from its Gulph Road building. Its buildings in Maschellmac are also owned by Brandywine.
CSL Behring has had a presence in King of Prussia for years. Its predecessor companies have been in the community since 1995 and stayed as it evolved into differently entities. In 2004, CSL Ltd., an Australian company, bought what had turned into Aventis Behring, a maker of blood-protein therapies. At the time, it was owned by France-based Aventis and had about 275 employees in King of Prussia.
It has been growing ever since.
Between the First Avenue and North Gulph, CSL Behring now has 1,000 employees working in King of Prussia. That’s up from 300 employees six years ago and the company has been annually growing by 10 percent to 15 percent over those years. With projections that have it continuing growing at around the same pace, the company was forced to evaluate its real estate footprint and future needs, said Cameron Barret, a senior vice president at the company.
Beginning two years ago, CSL Behring enlisted Karen Palecko-Bates, a principal at Meyer Design Inc., to help assess its space. The company had a “real estate problem,” Palecko-Bates said. Even with making space in its First Avenue buildings more efficient — reducing the amount of square feet per person — the company would run out of space in three years, she said.
That’s when the company began to sift through its options, among them: leasing buildings in different areas; lease or buy a single building to consolidate everyone; build a new campus; or establish an outpost in Center City. “We looked at all of those,” Barret said.
In the end, 500 N. Gulph made the most sense. It was the least disruptive, near First Avenue and gave it room to grow. Part of what Palecko-Bates’ was charged with was to find ways to connect the First Avenue and North Gulph locations so employees still felt connected and didn’t look at the distance between the two locations as a barrier. “We didn’t want to have ‘us versus them,’” Barret said.
To that end, both locations share similar finishes, furniture, colors, an abundance of natural light and other design elements including a variety of open and enclosed seating areas.
While there are similarities, there are intentional differences. The Gulph Road building has a conference center with 10 such meeting rooms but there isn’t a similar facility at First Avenue. First Avenue has a gym but none at Gulph Road. Both sites have cafeterias but each serves some different foods. That set up forces employees to visit each property. A shuttle runs between the sites every 15 minutes and makes stops in the nearby King of Prussia Town Center.
The Gulph Road property also gave CSL Behring more visibility. Its logo adorns the top of the building and can be seen from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Route 422 and other major arteries.