The Nipper Building is a colloquial name for The Victor condominiums, and formerly, Building 17, RCA Victor Company, Camden Plant. The structure is a historical building located in Cooper Grant neighborhood of Camden, Camden County, New Jersey, United States. For many years Camden was the headquarters of the Victor Talking Machine Company, later RCA Victor. Originally a Victrola cabinet factory, the building was converted into luxury apartments and retail space in 2004.
Building 17, RCA Victor Company, Camden Plant
|Location||1 Market Street, Camden, New Jersey|
|Area||3.7 acres (1.5 ha)|
|Architect||Ballinger & Perrot|
|Architectural style||Classical Revival|
|NRHP reference #||02001253|
|Added to NRHP||October 4, 2002|
|Designated NJRHP||September 18, 2002|
The Nipper Building, now known as 'The Victor', was originally constructed during 1909-1916, by the architectural and engineering firm of Ballinger & Perrot.
Francis Barraud, an unknown British artist, painted a picture of his brother's dog, sitting attentively in front of a phonograph. "Nipper", the alert Fox Terrier, became the best known dog in the world. The painting, called His Master's Voice, was sold to the British Gramophone Company Ltd. and eventually became the trademarks of both the Gramophone Company and its new American affiliate, the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901. The Radio Corporation of America absorbed the Victor Company in 1929 and the acquisition included the Camden manufacturing plant and the "His Master's Voice" trademark. The four stained glass windows in the buildings tower depicting the Nipper trademark were originally installed in 1915 and were illuminated at night. In 1968, RCA introduced a new corporate logo and de-emphasized both the "Victor" and Nipper trademarks. The windows were removed from the tower in 1969 and replaced with RCA's new logo painted on large sheets of plywood. Beginning in 1976, partly in response to public demand, the Nipper trademark was reinstated to RCA record labels and other products and used again in RCA advertising. Several newspaper articles and news reports about Nipper's return, appeared at the time. On April 10, 1979, RCA held a ceremony in Camden dedicating four new stained glass windows, identical to the originals, which had been reinstalled in the tower. These windows were damaged by neglect and vandals after General Electric, which had absorbed RCA in 1986, vacated the building in the 1990s. The damaged windows were replaced after the building was acquired by Dranoff Properties and converted into loft apartments.
During the 1970s and 1980s some parts of the building were used by the RCA Government Communications Systems Division, for the development of computer systems for the U.S. intelligence community.
After manufacturing ceased in 1992, the building became vacant, vandalized and a general eyesore to the surrounding area and was in danger of demolition. Most of the other dozens of old RCA Victor buildings at the Camden site had already been razed. In 1997, the building was listed on Preservation New Jersey's Ten Most Endangered sites list.
Utilizing the Investment Tax Credit, the structure was converted into a complex featuring a mix of 341 upscale loft apartments with outstanding views of the Philadelphia skyline. The restoration was completed in August 2003 at a cost of $65 million. Approximately 80% of the project's funding came from private sources, namely through Dranoff Properties, Fleet Bank and Related Capital. Remaining funding came from various public sources including the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority and the Delaware River Port Authority.
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Camden County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. January 10, 2010. p. 12. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
- "Landmark living on the Camden Waterfront". Retrieved 18 July 2010.
- "RCA Victor Company, "Nipper Building" Rehabilitation". 17 June 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
- "About RCA - Nipper and Chipper". Retrieved 18 July 2010.
- "10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in New Jersey Archive". Retrieved 18 July 2010.
- "2004 Preservation Awards Presented in State House Ceremony". Retrieved 18 July 2010.