CSC Station seen as ‘welcoming spot’ for clients, project teams, and downtown visitors
WILMINGTON – “ CSC will use its new building next to the Wilmington train station to bring together project teams from along the East Coast; support corporate clients from outside the state that have business in Delaware; provide co-working space for startups; keep University of Delaware students in state after graduation; and promote Wilmington to commuters.
It’s a daunting list of goals for just 43,000 square feet, but CSC will completely renovate the historic six-story building at 112 S. French St., including a two-story atrium, landscaping, lighting, and equipment and infrastructure upgrade, by early this fall. The first set of changes will be focused on the first two floors, said CSC Vice President Scott Malfitano, who is overseeing the project.
After an analysis of county tax records, DBT estimated the purchase price at $4.8 million. In a separate conversation, Malfitano indicated that the company will spend at least that much on the CSC Station renovations.
CSC Station will include co-working and event space, a range of working and conference rooms as well as other amenities similar to its modern headquarters space that opened in 2017.
CSC serves the thousands of companies that incorporate in the state every year with business, legal, tax and digital services ““ notably serving 90% of Fortune 500 companies plus thousands more smaller companies. While it has offices around the globe and employs more than 2,000 people, the company has a long history in Wilmington, including two buildings it already occupies outside the city limits.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki told DBT that he is intrigued by the company’s plans for CSC Station.
“CSC is a company known for its innovative spirit,” Purzycki said. “[CSC CEO] Rod [Ward] and Scott have made their commitment to Wilmington clear. They seem to want to go beyond creating an environment that is strictly beneficial to CSC and its clients, but rather set up a space where entrepreneurs and other business-related activities can thrive. CSC is part of Wilmington’s future and we appreciate all that the company brings to our City.”
Malfitano, who is also vice chair of the Delaware State Chamber and chairs the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, said CSC did not receive any incentives from the state for the new project and does not anticipate it will take advantage of the fact that the red-brick building is in an Opportunity Zone, which would make it eligible for further tax investment incentives.
“Rod told us he wanted to invest in the city and asked how we could do that,” Malfitano said, saying the goal for CSC Station is to create a vibrant welcoming spot for Amtrak and SEPTA visitors coming to Wilmington. “We see this as an opportunity to establish a better footprint for CSC in the city of Wilmington, but it’s also going to be a showcase that will be the first thing thousands of people see when they get off the train.”
“We’re a back-office service company that can help clients coming to Delaware do work, and also help market Delaware a bit differently,” he added. “We want to show people that it’s a convenient spot to come to by train, eat at [nearby] restaurants, visit the waterfront, and still walk to the courthouse or visit the law firms or financial institutions that are right there.”
Wilmington Alliance CEO Renate B. Kowalczyk described CSC’s decision as “an exciting representation of Wilmington being an important regional economic hub.”
“The location will serve as a business anchor that supports the Downtown and Riverfront connectivity and encourages the flow of commerce,” Kowalczyk said. “CSC’s plans for the building are an innovative way to infuse an important historical building with modern technology and use that exemplifies the vision for the city captured in the Wilmington 2028 Comprehensive Plan.”
Despite speculation that CSC was planning to move workers from its Lancaster Pike headquarters, Malfitano said “we will not force anyone to move, although I’m going to personally relocate there.”
Amtrak’s security team will remain a tenant in the building also known as the Pennsylvania Railroad Building, while collections software company Katabat plans to move out this spring, Malfitano said. CSC could ultimately lease the top two floors of the building to entrepreneurs and business startups, Malfitano explained, adding that he is already talking to “an established company that is looking for more modern office space,” but declining to elaborate.
“I’ve got to cover my costs,” he said with a smile.
Malfitano acknowledges there’s also a recruitment component for prospects who live in Philadelphia and would love to get off the SEPTA train and walk a few feet to work as opposed to then traveling out to the main headquarters west of the city near Greenville. The new building will also be a great way to introduce University of Delaware students to downtown Wilmington before graduation to help encourage them to stay in the state, he said.
“I moved here from New York City [in the mid-1980s] and I’m so high on this place,” he said. “I’m thrilled to be here” and appreciate the opportunity to introduce others to Wilmington and to Delaware.
By Peter Osborne, Editor