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Real Estate - Commercial

Thermo Fisher To Explore Sale Of Former PPD HQ

By Staff Reports, posted Apr 11, 2022
Thermo Fisher Scientific is considering selling its downtown office building, formerly the headquarters of PPD, which the company acquired late last year. (Photo by Johanna F. Still)

Four months after officially acquiring Wilmington-headquartered PPD, Thermo Fisher Scientific announced it is exploring opportunities to sell Wilmington’s tallest building. 

The scientific service leader is embarking on a multi-year effort, which includes plans to seek new office space in Wilmington. The shift “will enable this business to better match current and future workspace needs with flexible work models,” Thermo Fisher shared in a press release Monday afternoon. 

Thermo Fisher’s move is indicative of an international trend whereby companies are reassessing their use of office space in the context of rising remote capabilities. The company is currently in the early stage of considering new office space opportunities, according to a release, and “remains committed to Wilmington.” 

When the $17.4-billion acquisition first closed in December 2021, the company shared no changes to facilities or locations were planned – though many real estate experts had speculated the building could serve alternative uses, given the often empty parking decks. Thermo Fisher even had PPD's signature purple lettering removed from the building's façade less than two weeks after the acquisition. 

The 12-story downtown building functioned as PPD’s corporate headquarters since it opened in 2007, and marked the beginning of an economic revival of the northern waterfront area downtown. 

David Johnston, Thermo Fisher’s senior vice president and president of clinical research, said a significant percentage of the company’s 1,700 Wilmington employees and prospective candidates prefer a hybrid working model. This involves coming into the office for collaboration purposes, “which necessitates more flexible workspaces and fewer dedicated offices.”

“We have been proud of our Wilmington building since it opened in 2007 and, as we consider the evolving needs of our workforce and business, we believe this is the right time to establish a new location to serve our colleagues, customers and visitors,” Johnston said in a release.

PPD was an early adapter of the remote working model and found the flexibility fostered high productivity during the pandemic. 

“Our commitment to Wilmington as an employer and our involvement in the community remain stronger than ever and, through this relocation, we expect to continue to be a Wilmington growth story for years to come,” Johnston said. ​

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