Pandora, the global jewelry maker best known for its charm bracelets, is set to open a new North American corporate headquarters in New York City’s Theater District next year.
The move, though long anticipated, is a gut punch for Baltimore’s downtown, which has been home to the Danish jewelry company’s regional head office for Pandora Americas since 2015. Before that, Pandora’s U.S. headquarters had been located in Columbia.
In a company statement, Luciano Rodembusch, president of Pandora North America, said the expansion into Manhattan will increase the brand’s corporate presence and feed its ambition to grow its market share and double its business. A Pandora spokeswoman told the Baltimore Banner that the company’s 114 Baltimore employees will not be required to relocate. It also will retain its Pratt Street offices through at least 2026 and maintain operations at the Columbia logistics center.
Pandora will take up 27,000 square feet on the 35th floor of the new offices at 1540 Broadway, adjacent to Times Square. The office is expected to open by early 2023.
U.S. cities, adjusting to new ways of working, recreating and commuting, have been devastated by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. New York City is no exception: Pandora’s new offices at 1540 Broadway will be aided by at least $1.5 million in Empire State Development job tax credits, meant to spur employment and growth in New York State. The company plans to add 133 employees as a result, according to a Pandora news release.
“The location increases global talent attraction,” the release reads. It adds that the company plans to open three more New York stores.
Representatives from the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore did not respond to a request for comment. The organization launched in 2021 a “Double Down on Downtown Baltimore” campaign designed to attract more businesses, residents and retailers to the city’s core, which contains much of the Inner Harbor as well as the Central Business District.
Though there have been some signs of encouragement — city boosters point to ongoing development projects such as CFG Bank Arena, the newly completed Lexington Market and the expected overhaul of Harborplace — vacancy statistics still paint a grim picture for downtown. Retails sales fell to $960 million in 2021 from more than $1 billion the prior year, according to the latest Downtown Partnership of Baltimore figures. And several downtown-based companies have relocated out of the urban core in favor of newer, sleeker parts of the city, including T. Rowe Price and Bank of America.
Meanwhile, the downtown occupancy rate of 80.17% has risen by three percentage points since 2020, and now is slightly lower than the national occupancy rate and Baltimore City’s overall rate. Downtown employment grew last year. And housing demand for downtown residences also rose, according to the partnership; more than 95% of apartments there are occupied.
This article may be updated.