Rapid sales growth over the last several years and limited space at its corporate headquarters along the Cooper River in Cherry Hill has Subaru of America executives contemplating new digs, though township officials say they’re doing everything they can to keep the company local.
With possible plans to consolidate office space from a second location in Pennsauken and move as many as 900 employees into one location, the company’s in what Michael McHale, the director of corporate communications, called a tentative, preliminary search for a location that might fit the bill.
Whether that spot is in Cherry Hill or somewhere nearby—McHale said they’re aiming local, though he wouldn't comment specifically where else—is the question.
“We're just looking around to see what options we have,” he said. “Ideally, we'd like to put the two buildings together.”
The possibility of Subaru moving out of its seven-story, concrete-and-glass tower on Route 70 is something township officials have known about for a while and have been working to prevent, said spokeswoman Bridget Palmer.
“Obviously, our priority is to keep them in Cherry Hill,” she said. “If there's something in the township that meets their needs, we'll do what we can to help them.”
The township has put the company in contact with the state Economic Development Authority, Palmer said, which provides businesses with financing and tax incentives for adding jobs, renovating properties or constructing new buildings.
Subaru, which paid $440,210 in property taxes in 2012 on the $6.9 million, 13-acre property, doesn’t currently get any breaks from the township, which has only given out business incentives fives times since 2005.
Taxes aren’t the major concern for the company, though, McHale said.
“It's been driven from an operational standpoint,” he said. With 300 employees in the 115,000-square-foot headquarters, they’re already strained for space, and adding more in that building isn’t really an option, he said.
While it’s possible Subaru will stay within the township with an expansion or a brand-new building, things are so preliminary, township officials haven’t even pitched any specific properties within Cherry Hill that might fit the car company’s needs, Palmer said.