A world-leading distributor and supplier of food-service equipment and supplies has plans to relocate to Whitehall.

A world-leading distributor and supplier of food-service equipment and supplies has plans to relocate to Whitehall.

The Wasserstrom Co., founded in 1902, will relocate from its Brewery District building at 477 S. Front St. to a 50,000-square-foot building at 4500 E. Broad St., currently occupied by Apprisen Financial Services.

The financial-services company will move out as part of the building's sale, said Whitehall Development Director Zach Woodruff.

Woodruff announced the relocation Aug. 31, the day after Whitehall City Council met in a special session to approve an income-tax incentive for Wasserstrom that sealed the move.

The 10-year income-tax abatement is worth $137,500 annually for a total value of $1.37 million, Woodruff said, as long as the company guarantees a payroll of $12 million annually.

Woodruff said he has been negotiating with Wasserstrom for almost a year.

"We couldn't be more excited to welcome a company like Wasserstrom to Whitehall," he said.

Wasserstrom will move 225 employees to the East Broad Street location, including sales, support, human resources, finance, Internet technology and purchasing staff.

The move is expected to be complete next summer, Woodruff said.

The company's new headquarters will be across the street from the Commons at Royal Landing, a troubled apartment complex the city purchased this year for the purpose of redevelopment.

The city is "exploring development options" for the 17-acre site at the southwest corner of East Broad Street and South Hamilton Road and hopes soon to announce a developer and a site plan for it, Woodruff said.

"We plan to make a recommendation to City Council that we enter into a letter of intent with a co-developer by the end of the month," he said.

No new leases are being signed and tenants are moving out of the Commons at Royal Landing as existing leases expire, city officials said.

Wasserstrom President Brad Wasserstrom credited Whitehall's "aggressive economic-development leaders" and his own investigation of growth and change in the city as motivation for the company's decision to relocate.

"Once we learned about the momentum in Whitehall, our desire was to be part of the excitement. We are thrilled to be part of the evolution," Wasserstrom said in a press release.

Wasserstrom said the company has been growing above the industry's average and looks forward to continuing that growth at its new headquarters in Whitehall.

The Wasserstrom Co. has more than 1,800 associates worldwide at its 29 locations in 17 cities.

In an interview, Wasserstrom said the current building no longer meets the needs of the company.

"It's just not very efficient for what we need," he said.

While the Whitehall space is smaller, it will allow the company to create more room for growth and has the infrastructure to accommodate technology upgrades, Wasserstrom said.

"I know that right now we're getting on board some significant customers that will spur some significant growth," he said.

Gail Martineau, spokeswoman for the city of Whitehall, said the Wasserstrom Co. already has agreed to be a good community partner by getting involved in many local events.

"We're very excited to have Wasserstrom for a variety of reasons," Martineau said. "Personally, I'm really excited because their enthusiasm for the community is unrivaled."

The move from the Brewery District comes with a wide range of emotions, Wasserstrom said.

"For our family, it's very bittersweet," he said. "We have a lot of great memories here. We moved to the Brewery District before it became nice."

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