Corporation Service Co. broke ground Tuesday on a new headquarters building that will house most of of the company’s nearly 950 employees in Delaware.
The ceremony came after less than a day after a preview of the new Technology Center for JPMorgan Chase and Co. and an announcement that the financial services giant will add another 1,800 employees in coming years. The announcement means JPMorgan Chase will eventually employ 10,000 or more in Delaware.
The groundbreaking was held at the Little Falls site of the future headquarters in an area of rolling hills west of Wilmington. The property is across the street from the Agilent Technologies site.
County Executive Tom Gordon said the project is a sign that the Delaware economy is turning around and praised Gov. Jack Markell for his efforts in adding and retaiing jobs.
Gordon took note of the long-running decline in employment at DuPont Co. and the loss of the state’s two auto plants in crediting the Markell administration with working hard to improve the state’s economy.
“In a few years, we will be back on top,” Gordon said. For his part, Gordon has ordered a long-term economic development strategy for the county that has long been viewed as one of the most difficult in the region in terms of greenfield development.
The county played a key role in revising parking mandates for office complexes, with Gordon, over the past couple of years, citing the need for more flexibility in retaining and adding to the employment base.
Gov. Jack Markell said CSC is a company that is the “heart of what we are about.” The governor was referring to the state being the home, in terms of incorporations, of the bulk of the nation’s largest companies.
Holding on to that corporate fee income is not easy as other states work to mimic the strengths of the state, including Chancery Court, the nation’s leading business court.
CSC’s history dates back to the early days of the incorporation business when Christopher Ward and Josiah Marvel merged their two companies.
Privately held CSC has grown to 2,200 employees in nearly a dozen countries.
The 148,000-square-foot facility will house the majority of CSC’s Delaware employees — currently spread out in several locations within a 10-mile radius—and incorporate the latest design and sustainability features, including a green roof, sit/stand workstations, collaborative workspaces, and technology upgrades. The project will also involve the creation of a meadow in the scenic area.
The building is also aimed at attracting top employees who are increasingly likely to base their decisions on work environment as well as pay, CSC officials said.
In a sign that of CSC’s roots and focus on the future, ground breaking event featured a small drone aircraft shooting video of some of the proceedings from a respectful distance.
The Little Falls area was the site of a not in my backyard battle a couple of decades ago when Delaware was able to lure Agilent, then a part of Hewlett-Packard, the nearby site from adjacent Avondale, PA. The battle contributed to the reputation of northern Delaware as a difficult place for companies considering relocation or expansion.
This time around, a few neighbors were on hand to attend the groundbreaking.
CSC President, Rod Ward, III, credited the staff of the company with working hard to get out the message that the company would be a good neighbor.
The Delaware roots of the company clearly helped, with Chairman Bruce Winn taking note of its roots history and private ownership that allows long-term planning, not driven by quarterly earnings reports.
Wohlsen Construction will serve as construction manager. Also a part of the project is the Aegis Property Group, a Philadelphia real estate company; Environetics, an architectural firm; Jonathan Landscaping Architects, Inc.; Landmark Science; and Trefoil Properties