Unisys delays Center City move - Philadelphia News

July 23, 2008 4:58:01 PM PDT
Unisys Corp. has delayed plans to move its headquarters to a downtown skyscraper because of controversy over a pair of red-lighted signs, company officials said Wednesday. The information technology firm went before the city zoning board to seek approval for the 11-foot-high UNISYS signs, which would be placed near the top of Two Liberty Place - a landmark in Philadelphia's skyline and and now home to luxury condominiums.

The signs are a "critical" part of the decision to move Unisys headquarters and 225 jobs from suburban Blue Bell to downtown Philadelphia, Vice President of Corporate Operations Lawrence Wieser told the board Wednesday.

But several residents of Two Liberty Place and community groups oppose the signs, saying the red lights would be an aesthetic nightmare.

Several dozen people attended the hearing, but time ran out before they could testify. The zoning board continued the hearing until the fall.

Company spokesman Jim Kerr, who did not attend the hearing, said later that the delay will prevent Unisys from moving into Two Liberty Place in January 2009 as planned. Unisys would occupy about 7 percent of the 58-story building when it makes the move.

Unisys is shifting its headquarters to the iconic tower after more than three decades in the suburbs in part to increase its visibility.

Those backing Unisys in the sign fight include Mayor Michael Nutter, whose office has said the move shows that Philadelphia is growing as a corporate center.

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.