With the opening of the new GlaxoSmithKline headquarters next month, the Navy Yard will be celebrating a major milestone that was 20 years in the making: the 10,000th job at the Navy facility. The number is significant not just because it’s so large — this is the number of jobs lost when the Navy decided to close the once bustling military and ship building facility in the late 1990s.
Mayor Michael Nutter has hailed the Navy Yard as the most successful base closing transformation in the United States. This transformation of the abandoned base into the Emerald City is thanks to the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and property manager Liberty Property Trust, whose executives believe the number of jobs at the Navy Yard could double, or even triple, in the next decade.
While the Navy campus has attracted established local companies such as Urban Outfitters, it’s also become a hub for newcomers. “Sixty-eight percent of the companies that have chosen to settle at the Navy Yard are new to Philadelphia,” notes Mark McDonald, the mayor’s press secretary, noted.
One of these new companies is the UK-based Mark Group, an energy retrofitter that typically installs energy-saving measures in 75 homes a week.
“We chose Philadelphia as the headquarters for the company’s U.S. subsidiary because the greater Philadelphia area is the nation’s hub of energy efficiency research and development,” said Mark Group CEO Jeff Bartos. “The Navy Yard provided an unparalleled opportunity for Mark Group to collaborate with other clean tech companies and accelerate the growth of our energy efficiency businesses.”
One partner he may consider is The Navy Yard’s Energy Efficiency Buildings Hub, which was created with a $129 million Department of Energy grant. The goal of the EEB Hub — whose 22 partners include IBM Research, Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Penn State Universities — is to reduce energy consumption in U.S. commercial buildings by 20 percent by the year 2020. They plan to achieve their goal by creating and deploying economically viable technologies that significantly reduce energy emissions.