American Water Works conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for its new headquarters at One Water Street on The Camden Waterfront in New Jersey.
When completed in late 2018, the five-story, 220,000 square foot facility will house more than 600 employees, consolidating four different locations in southern New Jersey.
American Water President and CEO Susan Story was joined by US Rep. Donald Norcross; Camden Mayor Dana Redd; Bob Martin, commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; New Jersey Economic Development Authority president and cheif operating officer Timothy Lizura; Liberty Property Trust president and CEO William Hankowsky and more than 150 guests to celebrate the start of construction, which is expected to last about 18 months.
American Water president and CEO Susan Story said: "American Water and our employees are excited about our new home on the Camden waterfront.
"We know this will be a place where we can become an even stronger presence in this great city; where we can attract and develop talent for today and the future; and where we can develop solutions to challenges for clean, safe, reliable and affordable water and water services for people across the country."
American Water's headquarters will rise between the Ben Franklin Bridge and Adventure Aquarium. The environmentally friendly building will have panoramic views of the Philadelphia skyline, easy access to a waterfront park along the Delaware River, plentiful natural lighting, a rooftop terrace, and cutting-edge technology. Robert A.M. Stern Architects is the architect with Gensler designing the interior of the building.
Mayor Redd said: "The construction of One Water Street marks another great chapter in our city's history.
"I commend both Liberty Property Trust along with American Water for committing to Camden."
Mayor Redd added: "This project also signifies a private investment of $1b in our city.
"That commitment extends to hiring Camden residents and sourcing services and materials from Camden based companies. It will transform our waterfront and benefit our residents for many years to come."
Congressman Norcross said: "American Water's new headquarters will be more than just a building. It will stand as a symbol of Camden's renewal. Today we're a step closer to realizing the vision of a revitalized Camden City with new jobs and opportunities for our entire community."
American Water is joining a growing group of prominent corporations locating their headquarters in Camden, including most recently the Philadelphia 76ers and Holtec International. These corporations are building upon the foundation of stability and growth built by anchor institutions, such as Cooper Hospital, Rowan University and Rutgers University-Camden.
The Camden Waterfront is a new, mixed-use neighborhood that will attract corporations, employment and significant inward investment. Liberty Property Trust is working to put in place additional pieces of The Camden Waterfront master plan designed by Robert A.M Stern Architects including a proposed 180-room Hilton Garden Inn to be developed by Ensemble Real Estate Solutions and 188 residential units for which an agreement is pending with The Michaels Organization.
The office component of the development will consist of build-to-suit projects for corporations seeking to grow their businesses in this environment.
In addition, over $8m is planned to be invested in the reconstruction and enhancement of the existing waterfront park creating more than 2.5 additional acres offering diverse opportunities for recreation, exploration, respite, and engagement with nature.
As part of the overall project, Liberty has entered into a Community Investment Agreement with Camden in which it has committed to staffing 10 to 20% of the construction workforce with qualified Camden residents, maximizing sourcing from Camden-based businesses and providing opportunities for Camden youth through paid internships, participation in the creation of construction fencing murals and supporting youth sports. Additionally, 20% of the residential units will be allocated to affordable housing.
Liberty Property Trust chairman, president, and CEO William Hankowsky said: "The significance of this moment is twofold.
"Today, we not only celebrate breaking ground on American Water's new corporate headquarters, but also recognize this is the very first step in establishing The Camden Waterfront as a thriving and dynamic community."
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse US publicly traded water and wastewater utility company.
The company employs more than 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada.