Crown Cork To Build New Offices In City The $21.3 Million Headquarters Will Go Up In The Northeast. The Company Plans To Add 350 Jobs.

Posted: May 26, 1995

Less than a week after it announced that it was buying a major French container manufacturer for $5.2 billion, Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. said yesterday that it would build a $21.3 million headquarters in Northeast Philadelphia.

The project, which officials said would keep 350 manufacturing jobs in Philadelphia and add 350 largely white-collar jobs to the area, was greased by $8.25 million in state and city loans.

In addition, Philadelphia's Economic Development Corp., which paid $700,000 for the land on which the firm's new headquarters will stand, has agreed to sell the 40-acre parcel to Crown Cork for $400,000.

In buying CarnaudMetalbox S.A., France's leading container-maker, Crown Cork turned itself into a $10 billion corporation and vaulted to the top of its industry internationally.

And the idea that such a large, international company would stay in Philadelphia to oversee its empire clearly delighted Gov. Ridge and Mayor Rendell. The two officials joined Crown Cork chief executive William J. Avery to make the announcement yesterday.

Crown Cork's decision to raise the 180,000-square-foot building at the corner of Roosevelt Boulevard and Woodhaven Road "is a strong message that Pennsylvania is pro-worker, pro-job and pro-growth," Ridge said.

Crown Cork, which has 21,000 employees at 148 plants in 42 countries, had been courted by other states, which hoped to persuade it to leave Philadelphia even before the deal with CarnaudMetalbox was made public. One Southern state, in particular, had been very aggressive, even offering to give the company a building for its headquarters, Avery said.

He said that though his goal was to "stay in Philadelphia" because it had been home to him and his family for 21 years, the incentives offered by Pennsylvania and Philadelphia helped sway the decision.

For more than 40 years, Crown Cork's headquarters has been adjacent to its main manufacturing plant on Ashton Road in Northeast Philadelphia.

Rendell said that lending Crown Cork money to help it develop its new offices was a sound business decision.

"The taxpayer won't lose any money" because the loans will be repaid, with interest, over 15 to 20 years, Rendell said. Moreover, the city and the state will recoup far more money from the assorted taxes that Crown Cork and its employees will be paying, the mayor added.

Crown Cork, which makes metal and plastic packaging products such as cans and plastic bottles, expects to move into its new building in 1996. Crown Cork's European headquarters will stay in Paris, Avery said.

Crown Cork, which had $4.45 billion in sales last year, saw its stock close at $46 a share, down $1.125, yesterday.

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