Headquarters History and Relocation – Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why now?

A: The Fraternity’s Executive Board is charged with strategic planning for the long-term success of the organization. The discussion to relocate, including the possibility of relocating to the Midwest, has been ongoing since 1978 when discussing the sale of our first owned headquarters.  Based on benefits outlined by the Grand Alpha’s update, the Fraternity’s leadership believed that the positive benefits of a relocation to the greater Indianapolis area necessitated a relocation. [Back to Top]

Q: What was the process used to identify possible areas of the country to relocate to?

A: Multiple markets across the country were assessed with respect to a number of factors including (but not limited to) cost of living, ability to support chapters and members, cost of commercial property pricing, nearby alumni density, ease of staff travel logistics, nearby metropolitan entertainment and amenities, and nearby fraternal peer density.  After an objective analysis of each market’s feasibility, the list of viable candidate markets was narrowed down to Philadelphia and Indianapolis. The totality of benefits outlined above and by the Grand Alpha’s update made Indianapolis the clear choice for relocation. [Back to Top]

Q: What was the criteria used to identify a specific property in Carmel/Indianapolis?

A: There were a number of criteria including (but not limited to) distance to the airport, necessary square footage available, distance to the local city downtown, distance to a major metropolitan downtown, and affordable price. [Back to Top]

Q: What is the address of the new location?

A: It is 716 Adams Street, Suite A, Carmel IN, 46032. [Back to Top]

Q: When will the Headquarters Staff be working from the new location?

A: The Fraternity’s Staff will be moving over June and July, with a goal of being operational in the new location in August 2017, just prior to the academic semester starting. [Back to Top]

Q: When do we start sending U.S. postal mail to the new location?

A: You can begin sending postal mail starting in late August 2017.  Staff will also make sure that mail sent to 2 Timber Drive in Chester Springs is forwarded to the new location. [Back to Top]

Q: Is the phone number for headquarters changing?

A: Not immediately; our current phone system allows staff to redirect calls to the new location using the existing phone numbers. [Back to Top]

Q: What is happening to the Fraternity’s archives and museum?

A: The Phi Kappa Sigma Foundation will take over the preservation and protection of all of the archives and historical artifacts, including displaying them at the new headquarters in Carmel. [Back to Top]

Q: What is happening to the Courtyard of Brotherhood?

A: The Fraternity is working with architects and the Property Owner’s Association of our new location to explore relocation possibilities of the engraved bricks currently at 2 Timber Drive in Chester Springs. [Back to Top]

Q: Can I visit the new location?

A: Of course!  We would love to have you, but we need to a little time to finish moving in.  We will be holding an official “ribbon-cutting” ceremony in the very near future (potentially on Founder’s Day, October 19th, 2017) so stay tuned for event details.  After that, the headquarters will be open and welcoming of a visit by any member. [Back to Top]

Q: Can we have a chapter retreat or alumni event at the new location?

A: Yes!  Our new location has a multi-purpose training space that would be perfect to facilitate these type of events for approximately 25 members or less, so please contact staff to discuss your needs further. [Back to Top]

Q: Who paid for this?

A: The Phi Kappa Sigma Foundation, which is a separate legal and financial entity from the Fraternity, purchased the new property as an investment.  The Fraternity has signed a long-term lease agreement with the Foundation to be the sole tenant of the property for at least the next 30 years. [Back to Top]

Q: Will undergraduate dues go up as a result of this purchase?

A: The Fraternity’s leadership and staff are always working to keep operational costs low. The same dedication is being used in order to support this relocation without impacting our undergraduate chapters and members. [Back to Top]

Q: Did my donations to the Foundation go to this?

A: The Foundation chose to diversify a portion of its corpus investment portfolio from securities and into real estate.  President of the Foundation, Rob Burnett, has stated that “the decision to invest in real estate was carefully considered to ensure that the return on investment was prudent and attractive when compared to our traditional investment strategies.  Additionally, the long-term lease agreement that the Fraternity signed allows the Foundation to see a more stable and predictable return on its investment.  The Foundation Board also believes that purchasing the property in Carmel, and leasing it to the Fraternity on a long-term basis furthers the Foundation’s mission to support the educational and leadership endeavors of the Fraternity and its student members.” [Back to Top]

Q: What is happening to the Fraternity’s previous headquarters at 2 Timber Drive in Chester Springs, PA?

A: The property has been listed for sale at this time and is expected to sell prior to the end of 2017. [Back to Top]

Q: Where does the money go from the sale of the 2 Timber Drive property?

A: Some of the funds from the sale will be used to make the new headquarters move-in ready, as well as accommodate one-time moving costs.  The remaining funds will be invested alongside insurance and Grand Chapter funds, for it to responsibly grow while also offsetting any operational costs from the new Headquarters. The funds used to buy the property in Chester Springs (our headquarters from 1994-2017) were originally from the sale of the downtown Philadelphia headquarters (1950-1980); this purchase is no different. [Back to Top]

Q: Will Mrs. Deb Kurynny be moving with us?

A: Sadly, no.  After almost 29 years of faithful service as the Fraternity’s administrative assistant, Deb does not intend to relocate with us.  During her time on staff, Deb served under 10 Grand Alphas and 7 Executive Directors, aided over 50 other staff members, and worked with thousands of undergraduates and alumni from every chapter across the country.  Her impact on the organization simply cannot be overstated, as she has been a part of nearly every daily function of the headquarters for almost three decades.  As an organization, we are incredibly grateful for Deb’s tireless efforts and dedication over the years, and wish her the best with whatever her future may hold. [Back to Top]

Q: What is the history of the Phi Kappa Sigma headquarters?

A: History of Phi Kappa Sigma’s headquarters

1. 1915 – 1927: 1602 Real Estate Trust Building in Philadelphia
2. 1927 – 1938: 135 South Fourth Street, Unit 764 in the Bullitt Building in Philadelphia, PA
3. 1938 – 1941: 135 South Fourth Street, Unit 772 in the Bullitt Building in Philadelphia, PA
4. 1941 – 1949: 1500 Locust Street, Room 404 in Philadelphia, PA
5. 1949 – 1982: 1500 Locust Street, Suite 2108 in Philadelphia, PA
6. 1982 – 1994: 11 Davis Road, Suite 301 in the Valley Forge Office Colony, Building 2, Valley Forge, PA
7. 1994 – 2017: 2 Timber Drive, Chester Springs, PA
8. 2017: 716 Adams Street, Suite A & E, Carmel, IN

Why and International Headquarters?

The need for office space first arose around the turn of the century. Up until 1915, the Fraternity business was handled by the individual Grand Officers from their homes and businesses. This was becoming increasingly taxing on the officers’ careers and family lives. Therefore, at the 52nd Grand Chapter in 1915, the Executive Board approved the idea of acquiring space to oversee the everyday Fraternity affairs. The Fraternity acquired space in the 1602 Real Estate Trust Building in Philadelphia, PA. A full time secretary named Miss M. G. Frame was hired to administer the affairs of 29 Chapters and about 4,500 alumni.

In early 1927, the Fraternity had 36 active Chapters and alumni membership had grown to 8,500. The Executive Board decided they needed additional space. The headquarters was moved to 135 South Fourth Street, Unit 764 in the Bullitt Building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1938, the office moved into a larger unit within the same building to better serve the International Headquarters.

In 1941, the office was moved to Room 404, 1500 Locust Street in Philadelphia. Two factors led to the decision to move. The first was again, space, since the Fraternity was expanding rapidly. The Alumni now totaled approximately 13,000 and there were 40 Chapters. The second factor was that the Bullitt building had been sold to new owners and was to be used for other purposes.

By the first post war convention in 1946, the office facilities were again painfully inadequate. The International Headquarters was now responsible for 43 Chapters and 16,000 alumni. If the present office space was maintained, many felt the efficiency and services of the International Headquarters would begin to suffer. In 1946, the Executive Board presented the problem to the delegates of the 68th Convention in Chicago and again the following year at the 69th Convention in Columbus, Ohio. At both conventions the sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of securing improved facilities and increasing, rather than decreasing, the services rendered by the Headquarters staff.

In 1946, the Executive Board presented the problem to the delegates of the 68th Convention in Chicago and again the following year at the 69th Convention in Columbus, Ohio. At both conventions the sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of securing improved facilities and increasing, rather than decreasing, the services rendered by the Headquarters staff.

Phi Kappa Sigma’s First Headquarters Building

In 1947, the first full time Executive Secretary, James B. Fox, was hired. Soon after, in the spring of 1949, the Fraternity bought a building at 335 South Sixteenth Street in Philadelphia. The purchase of the building was timed with the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Fraternity in 1950. The 100-year celebration was planned in conjunction with the Grand Chapter that was held that summer in Philadelphia. (Fortunately, the original secretary, Miss M.G. Frame, moved with the office to the new building.)

The library of the new Headquarters was dedicated to the memory of all the Phi Kaps who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars. The building provided ample space for the International Headquarters as well as room for two tenants. Eventually the traveling consultants were also housed within the office. The first Leadership Conference was held here under Executive Secretary Clyde Johnson. During the 1970s, there was considerable dissension among the Board members as to whether the Headquarters should remain in Philadelphia when the growth of the Fraternity was toward the West. After lengthy discussion, it was decided to sell the building and move to the suburbs of Philadelphia.

According to an executive board memorandum, the vote to sell the first headquarters and move was held by telephone on November 8-9, 1978 with 6 in favor, 3 against (2 noted with conditions of renting or selling the building first), and 1 abstention [Note: this vote included the Grand Iota, Grand Epsilon, and Past Grand Alpha Simons]. This was in large part because of the exepnse of maintaining the building in an undesirable inner-city location.

The Headquarters building on South Sixteenth Street was sold in February 1980, and the money was invested with the hope of eventually purchasing a Headquarters in the future. Until a suitable location could be found, Phi Kappa Sigma returned to Locust Street. This time it was to a different building from the one occupied from 1949-1951, but on the same block. The Fraternity rented space at 1500 Locust Street until the spring of 1982.

Back to Leasing

In 1982, the office was moved to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. This rented office was located at the Valley Forge Office Colony, a site chosen for its historic location and cost efficiency. Anyone who ever visited the Fraternity’s offices in Valley Forge remembers the modest functionality of the roughly 1,300 square feet of rented space, and the gorgeous view of the National Park next door. As one can imagine, over the years the Fraternity accumulated many records, educational material and artifacts. Inevitably, there was not enough room to store it all and the Fraternity had to resort to basements, garages, and at one point a self-storage unit. There also were concerns for our precious archives from being housed with numerous other tenants and that no modern fire protection system existed. Those basements and garages were also damp, and exposed the fragile artifacts to the detrimental effects of heat and cold year after year.

In the mid 1980s, the discussion to move or stop leasing was again raised. In late 1985 after a decision held at Grand Chapter, Executive Director Ron Siggs began presenting options to the Executive Committee. The discussions revolved around the advantages which existed for owning our own property, such as equity, fixed mortgage payments, and a custom, permanent location for our needs and desires. Board members reflected on the location of the downtown headquarters because of its location and generation of rental income, abundance of space, access to public transportation and the airport, and a desirous location for childless couples and young singles. Also discussed was the expectation for staff to live on or near the property with space for privacy and personal use.

This is when the discussion for the Indianapolis area rose again. By this time, even more fraternities and sororities had moved to the area, as well as the NIC and NPC offices. The NIC and other fraternities expressed their support in helping us and other fraternities move to the area to benefit from the greater exchange of interfraternity information and assistance within the community that had been built. Additionally, there was a property tax incentive for fraternal organizations to locate to the area and this was prompting groups to put down roots in Indianapolis by purchasing or constructing headquarters.

Phi Kappa Sigma’s Second Headquarters Building

October 20, 1994 marked the beginning of a new era in Phi Kappa Sigma’s history. That was the day the Fraternity purchased a beautiful new headquarters facility in Chester Springs, PA. Located approximately 45 miles west of Philadelphia, the Phi Kappa Sigma International Headquarters building had 4,500 square feet of office and living space and is situated on 1.3 acres of land. The purchase of the Headquarters building came to over $230,000 when finally complete. The money to finance the purchase was made available through the Fraternity’s Endowment Fund, established in 1907, and any remaining funds left over from the sale of the original headquarters building.

The advantages of acquiring the facility were many. There was a significant amount of work, living areas for staff and available meeting space for undergraduates and alumni. The Fraternity, once again, has a place that it can be very proud of and point to as a symbol of our long, prestigious history. All of our precious archives were located in one place under climate-controlled conditions and 24-hour fire and security protection with a small museum area, in which some of the more important and interesting pieces were displayed. Upon entering the front door, one would notice the great portrait of Dr. Samuel Brown Wylie Mitchell as well as a 130-year old grandfather clock.

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