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November 4, 2013

Brandywine to build curved glass tower in University City

103113_fmctower_300Brandywine Realty Trust will build a new construction project on the NE corner of 30th and Walnut Sts. in University City to house the FMC Corp. The tall curved-glass-walled tower, designed by Pelli Clark Pelli and Bower Lewis Thrower, will tower over the Schuylkill, I-76 and the Amtrak lines along the river.The $341 million FMC Tower will rise 47 stories — 650 feet — and include 575,000 sq ft of offices, 10,000 sq ft of retail — plus 260 apartments. Adjoins a 2,000-space parking garage built by Brandywine that also serves IRS workers at Brandywine’s former 30th St post office nearby.

FMC will move its headquarters staff — currently 546 bosses and workers — to the new tower by June 2016, spokesman Jim Fitzwater told FMC will lease 253,000 sq ft for 16 years; the University of Pennsylvania will rent another 100,000 sq ft on four floors for 20 years.

Philadelphia beat competing sites in New Jersey and Delaware to keep the headquarters, sweetened by $10 million in Pennsylvania taxpayer incentives, including: $3 million in Pennsylvania First grants, $2 million in Pennsylvania Economic Growth Initiative money, and $5 million from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). “It’s in a Keystone Opportunity Incentive Zone, but we won’t pursue those benefits,” Fitzwater told me. Instead the company is opting for the up-front cash. Brandywine had arranged state and city 10-year Keystone zone tax breaks on the city’s Use and Occupancy and real estate taxes and other levies at the site back in 2008, before a previous tenant proposal fell through.

FMC is a specialty chemical company with global operations and clients. The company’s products include pesticides, food and drug additives, pesticides, lithium, and soda ash for glass and detergent.

In today’s statement, Bondreau praised the location between the Penn and Drexel campuses close by the University City Science Center and said it would make it easier to recruit and keep workers.