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How EMR Eastern safeguarded the future of a New Jersey music icon

Jack Arksey

Victor Building, New Jersey

The world-leading metal recycler revamped the former home of Victor Records, creating a hub for innovation and investment in sustainable recycling solutions.

Imagine, for a moment, that you were Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald or George Gershwin arriving in Camden, New Jersey, a century ago. On the cusp of era-defining musical success, your first port of call might have been a visit to the Victor Talking Machine Company and its still-new executive office building – home to Victor Records and the iconic ‘Victrola’ gramophone.

From its embrace of electricity to its purpose-built furniture – and use of high-quality building materials such as Italian marble – the building was celebrated at the time of its construction as an example of the best of modern office design. There was even space for an auditorium (its maple wood flooring included as much for employee dances as for company conventions).

While Victor Records went on to become RCA Records – which today counts Foo Fighters, Britney Spears and SZA among its roster of artists – time had not been as kind to the eight-story office building, first built for Victor Talking Machine Company executives.

That was until EMR Eastern decided to give this historic building a new lease of life as its national headquarters.

As a global leader in metal recycling (and major employer in the Camden area), EMR Eastern is capitalizing on the growing demand from US manufacturers for sustainable materials. Completed in 2019, the $33 million redevelopment turned this much-loved historical landmark into a modern office space – from which 120 employees are now delivering some of the company’s most pioneering new processes and products.

As part of the project, EMR Eastern ensured all of the ornamental ceilings and woodwork – which have decorated every floor of the building for more than 100 years – were preserved and restored. Broken windows were also replaced, and paintwork was updated, giving Camden residents the chance to see the building back in its former glory and ending a decades-long decline.

The company also installed a ramp for disabled employees and visitors, providing enhanced accessibility to the office building for the first time in its long history.

The site, a hub for research, development and innovation, has played a vital role in implementing game-changing technologies at EMR Eastern facilities.

EMR Camden – the company’s nearby mega shredder facility, located in Camden’s waterfront district – has pioneered a range of new technologies to optimize rates of reuse and recycling as it strives to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

Just as the emergence of recorded music gave a voice to the technological and social progress of the early 20th Century, the pioneering recycling processes developed by EMR Eastern will be central to the transition to a more sustainable and efficient circular economy long into the future.

The refurbished Victor Talking Machine Company executive office building is the perfect setting from which this exciting future can be delivered.