A rendering of One Water Street in Camden, the headquarters of American Water. — Courtesy: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
By Joshua Burd
American Water has opened the doors to its new 220,000-square-foot headquarters in Camden, the first completed piece of a high-profile, billion-dollar redevelopment of the city’s waterfront.
Officials with the company, the nation’s largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility, joined public officials on Tuesday to debut the new building at One Water Street. Developed by Liberty Property Trust, the five-story complex sits at the edge of the Delaware River and offers unimpeded views of the Philadelphia skyline.
American Water has relocated its headquarters from Voorhees and has consolidated more than 600 employees from several locations in southern New Jersey.
“Our move to Camden is an opportunity to contribute to the continuing revival of this great city, a community in which we have provided water service and invested in for more than 125 years,” said Susan Story, CEO and president of American Water. “At American Water, we keep life flowing — both by investing in Camden’s youth and the region’s future economic prosperity, and by providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable water and water services to our customers in Camden and across the United States.”
Public officials hailed the project as another milestone in the South Jersey city’s rebirth. And it comes with the help of a 10-year, $164 million tax credit that was awarded to American Water under Grow New Jersey, one of the state’s powerful incentive programs that have steered investment toward its neediest urban areas.
Proud to be part of the grand opening of the @AmericanWater HQ in Camden. This will be one of the iconic Camden companies that the next generation associates with our great city.#CamdenRising @NJAmWater @CityofCamdenGov pic.twitter.com/QxoTRZhdKp
— Donald Norcross (@DonaldNorcross) December 4, 2018
As a sign of its commitment to Camden, the American Water Charitable Foundation on Tuesday announced a $200,000 donation for STEM education in the city’s school district. The utility says it has also invested more than $5 million into Camden organizations since 2011, including Hopeworks, the Salvation Army KROC Center, Habitat for Humanity and a host of others.
Its new home in the city, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, overlooks Camden’s iconic Cooper Street and the Delaware River. The design and construction team built the complex with collaboration and efficiency in mind, while it also features a Learning and Innovation Center for visitors to explore and learn about all things water.
Meantime, American Water noted that the building will draw visitors and water experts from all over the world to Camden, citing the company’s national leadership role in the research, development and deployment of groundbreaking water technology and tools to deal with emerging contaminants and other critical water policy issues.
The complex has attained platinum status under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design scale.
“The development of this project reflects American Water’s approach to growth — with goals ranging from global to hyperlocal,” said William P. Hankowsky, CEO and president of Liberty Property Trust. “The construction of this sustainable project was significantly impacted by the support, talent and hard work of the residents of Camden.”
The building is adjacent to an 18-story, 375,000-square-foot office tower that is under construction and will be home to the headquarters of NFI, Conner Strong & Buckelew and The Michaels Organization. Liberty’s waterfront project also includes a 156-unit market-rate apartment building that is under construction and a proposal for a 180-room Hilton Garden Inn to be developed by Ensemble Real Estate Solutions.
American Water also said Tuesday that it has entered into a voluntary community investment agreement with the mayor’s office. The agreement outlines a broad plan for how the company will emphasize and promote community education and outreach, job training programs and hiring initiatives at the headquarters and within the city.
“American Water doesn’t just talk about wanting to be a good corporate steward — their actions make it clear that this is a company that is committed to the future of our city,” Camden Mayor Frank Moran said. “Their ongoing partnership with the city of Camden and investment in the community at large is proof that American Water is an active and enthusiastic contributor to Camden’s renaissance, and we couldn’t be happier to officially welcome them to the neighborhood.”