MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. - UGI Utilities confirmed Thursday that it plans to leave its headquarters on North 12th Street in Muhlenberg Township. It follows other businesses, like Pepsi and SteelCo.
"I think we have to lift the cloud that's been on the city for four years," said Reading Mayor Wally Scott.
Reading officials said they planned a meeting with UGI to encourage the company to stay nearby.
"We want to grow jobs in the city. We want top assist UGI in growing jobs," said Glenn Steckman, the city's managing director.
The natural gas company has customers in 45 counties. It said it wants a headquarters that reflects its growth over the past decade.
"We've added about 85,000 customers in the last five years," said Joseph Swope, UGI's communications manager.
Although most of the Stone Pointe Corporate Center is vacant, Swope said UGI's own headquarters building would allow for future growth.
UGI's found a piece of land between Route 222 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, near Denver, Lancaster County.
"The location will allow us pretty easy access to most of our service territory," Swope said.
Geographically and commute-wise, Swope said the location makes sense.
"They did a study before looking at this location and they determined that, on average, it would result in an extra commute of about three miles per employee," Swope said.
The Stone Pointe Corporate Center is home to 150 UGI employees. Their positions will transition to the new location.
The land sale is not yet finalized and UGI still has several years left in the area because of its 10-year lease.
Reading officials are talking with UGI about two available pieces of land within city limits.
"We have a 50-acre piece of land and a 19-acre piece of land," said Steckman.
Regardless of the headquarters location, UGI will keep its office on Morgantown Road in Reading.
UGI said all plans are preliminary. The company said it continues to value its presence in the community.
"You're going to continue to see UGI employees living and working in Berks County," Swope said.
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