Chinese solar company is latest tenant of Brandywine's growing U City office enclave

China-based solar panel manufacturer Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. plans to consolidate its U.S. operations at a new national headquarters at the Cira Centre tower, making it the latest company drawn to developer Brandywine Realty Trust’s growing enclave of office properties around 30th Street Station in University City.

Yingli intends to sublease a 7,000-square-foot office suite from medical-benefits consultant Pareto Captive Services, which is relocating to a larger space in the recently completed FMC Tower south of the train station, Brian Schmidt, Yingli’s vice president for North American sales and marketing, said this week.

Yingli, which had been running its Green Energy Americas subsidiary from spaces in San Francisco and New York, selected Cira Centre — north of the rail station  — for its headquarters because of its proximity to the area’s university-linked talent pool, as well as its easy transit links to the airport and other U.S. cities, Schmidt said.

Yingli Green Energy Americas plans to maintain a staff of 10 over the next six months, but eventually more than double that headcount, he said, adding that the company will remain in the subleased space for four years under Pareto’s agreement with landlord Brandywine.

“That will allow us time to grow and potentially take over a larger space in the building,” Schmidt said.

Pareto, meanwhile, plans to occupy about 14,000 square feet in the Brandywine-owned FMC building at 2929 Walnut St. to accommodate the company’s rapid growth, as the health insurance industry’s ongoing volatility places the firm’s services in high demand, Pareto managing director Andrew Cavenagh said.

Pareto’s 25-member staff could as much as double over the next few years, he said.

Cira Center and FMC Tower were 97 percent and 98 percent leased as of June 30, according to Brandywine’s most recent quarterly financial disclosures.

An affiliate of the company, which recently announced the relocation of its own headquarters from its longtime Radnor home to the FMC building, paid $32 million in July for another nearby property, the 91,000-square-foot building on 0.9 acres that now houses the Slainte Pub & Grill, according to city property records.

Brandywine chief executive Jerry Sweeney did not immediately respond to an email inquiring about the company’s plans for the site.

Brandywine also is preparing to begin renovating the former Bulletin building at 3025 Market St. as part of its Schuylkill Yards plan with Drexel University, which involves the development of 14 acres owned by the company and the school.

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