GSI buys building in King of Prussia The Internet-marketing provider will nearly double its headquarters at the new site down the street.

Posted: May 27, 2004

GSI Commerce Inc., a provider of Internet marketing services to apparel firms, hardware stores, sports teams and sporting-goods concerns, said it had bought a four-story King of Prussia building that would be its corporate headquarters.

The 104,000-square-foot structure, purchased for $17 million, at 935 First Ave., will house 400 GSI employees, including executive, financial, engineering, technical, creative design, marketing and sales personnel.

It will be nearly double the size of the headquarters it replaces at 1075 First Ave. "We have people piled up on top of each other now," said Greg Ryan, GSI corporate communications director.

GSI also purchased an option to build a twin of its new building on an adjacent site, for anticipated future expansion, Ryan said.

The transaction is expected to be completed June 9, said Jeffrey E. Mack, a partner at the GVA Smith Mack real estate firm. He conducted a nine-month search for GSI and negotiated the purchase from Brandywine Realty Trust, of Plymouth Meeting.

GSI provides comprehensive e-commerce services - from Web design to order fulfillment - to a wide range of companies, including Ace Hardware, Dick's Sporting Goods, Linens 'n Things, Kmart and PalmOne.

Its clients also include major sports teams - the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, San Diego Chargers. It also serves NASCAR, the automobile racing group, and the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

GSI's new headquarters building has never been occupied. The building, completed a year ago, was developed initially by Prentiss Properties Trust, of Dallas. In 2001, Brandywine traded its holdings in Virginia for what Prentiss owned in the Philadelphia area.

KPR Sports International and Ryka athletic shoes combined to form Global Sports Inc. in 1997. The next year, Global Sports launched an e-commerce initiative and later sold its sporting-goods divisions. It changed its name to GSI Commerce Inc. in 2002.

GSI reported a net loss last year of $12.1 million on net revenue of $241.9 million. It had 1,074 full-time employees as of Feb. 27. Its shares closed down 20 cents yesterday to $8.70 in trading on the Nasdaq.

Contact staff writer Henry J. Holcomb at 215-854-2614 or hholcomb@phillynews.com.

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