American Water readying corporate HQ on Camden's waterfront
Camden native Omar Ware calls the development of American Water’s new corporate headquarters a dream come true.
“We’ve been waiting for this for so long,” said Ware, who has been working on construction of the project slated to open on Camden’s waterfront this fall. “I’m taking this really personally. We are loving this.”
The company announced its plans to relocate from Voorhees in 2016, bringing together about 700 employees currently spread among four South Jersey locations. Other employers including Holtec International, Subaru and the Philadelphia 76ers have also recently moved some operations to Camden.
“A lot of people ask why we are moving to Camden,” said American Water Senior Project Manager H. Jeremy Kierman. “We want to consolidate and want to be in the community we serve. It’s our house but Camden is our home. It’s become a bigger thing.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority awarded the company tax incentives through the Grow New Jersey program to move to Camden, with the company receiving approximately $164 million in tax credits.
The five-story, 220-square-foot building, which is part of the Camden Waterfront project developed by Liberty Property Trust, is a LEED Platinum building and features a water reuse system, four-story water walls, LED lighting and solar shades and 18 water-filling stations. Co-working and community spaces are incorporated throughout the property.
“Our executives wanted equality, so all offices are the same size, from the CEO on down,” Kierman said. “Our executives are walking the walk.”
American Water has committed to more than $13 million in construction work to local businesses and residents, something Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash said is part of the company’s focus on community.
“American Water’s move here is happening in just a few short months, bringing with them hundreds of jobs and a commitment to invest in Camden,” Nash said. “American Water has been meeting with the city, county, school district, and other interested parties to develop opportunities for STEM education and job training programs to prepare Camden students and residents to potentially work for them in the future. .... We look forward to having them be a part of our community for many years to come.”
For Ware, seeing the rebirth of his hometown has been well worth the wait.
“I’m gonna brag to my kids, ‘I did this,’” Ware said. “This is such a jewel right here.”