Say it Ain’t So, Glaxo. Company to Leave Research Triangle Park Campus

GlaxoSmithKline_Willy Barton_Compressed

Willy Barton. 

GlaxoSmithKline is making a statement: it understands the current mood and preferences of its workforce in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, the British pharma leader announced its intention to leave its sprawling campus in Research Triangle Park for the more compact confines of a downtown Durham, NC space.

With the planned departure from its 561,652-square-foot RTP campus, GSK will reduce its geographical footprint, but not its staff. It appears that the approximately 1300 employees currently located there will have remote and hybrid flexibility on a permanent basis.

“GSK’s relocation provides our people flexibility and new spaces that support collaboration, teamwork and innovation. As a company focused on providing innovative medicines and vaccines, we know that discovery, learning and evolution are critical to success,” said a company spokesperson in a statement.

Prior to the pandemic, GSK said that nearly all of its 1300 RTP employees were in the office on a daily basis. Going forward, it expects the number to be approximately half of that. The design of the company’s new space, which will take up 68,000 square feet of the​​ Crowe and Fowler buildings on the American Tobacco Campus, will be more conducive to collaboration.

Philadelphia will also be seeing a GSK transition, as the company moves on from the 207,779 square feet it currently occupies at the Philadelphia Navy Yard to a 46,000 square-foot space in the FMC Tower at Cira Centre South in the University City neighborhood. New neighbors will include the University of Pennsylvania and Spark Therapeutics. Again, GSK anticipates that only half of its 660 Philadelphia-based employees will be in the office every day. 

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have had an opportunity to re-evaluate, and ultimately redefine, the ways in which we work,” the company statement continued. “The changes we are announcing today for our corporate hubs in North Carolina and Philadelphia align our offices with how we now function, offering flexibility for our people and optimally sized spaces where teams will continue to engage and thrive.”

The announcement marks the end of an era as GSK has been entrenched in its RTP headquarters since 1983. The move, which the company plans to make during the first half of 2022, will also leave nearly a half-million square feet available for upwardly mobile pharmaceutical companies looking to move into the northeastern hub. North Carolina, and in particular Research Triangle Park, are consistently listed among the nation’s top 10 biopharma hubs. More than 730 life sciences companies call North Carolina home, providing jobs to more than 66,000 people.

GSK is not the only company bowing to the “new normal”. In April, Pfizer announced that it was considering selling its 1.89-million-square-foot, 340-acre office and laboratory space in Collegeville, PA. Pfizer said at the time that it was looking for a more “modern and flexible” workspace for returning employees. Also in April, Novartis told Bloomberg that it was developing a hybrid at-home/in-office work scheme and thus, was trying to determine what to do with its offices.

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