Friday, April 21, 2017

Retail ice age: Why 5K stores expected to close this year (Video)

Blackstone REIT Rapidly Adding to Initial Portfolio with 6 Million-SF Industrial Buy

Blackstone’s non-traded REIT, Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, this week added another portfolio to its growing property stockpile.

The REIT's latest acquisition is a six million-square-foot portfolio of predominantly infill industrial assets it purchased from affiliates of High Street Realty Co. $402 million.

The portfolio is 97% leased to over 90 tenants and consists of 38 industrial properties totaling 5.97 million square feet. The properties are located in six submarkets with the following concentration based on square footage: Atlanta (38%), Chicago (23%), Houston (17%), Harrisburg (10%), Dallas (10%) and Orlando (2%), according to Blackstone. The purchase price breaks down to about $67.30/square foot.

Blackstone did not provide a specific list of properties.

The REIT said that, over the last two years, market rents in those submarkets have increased by 5% annually while vacancy has declined by approximately 100 basis points to 5.2%. The REIT also said that infill industrial supply in these markets is expected to be constrained at 0.6% of stock throughout 2017 given limited land availability near these population centers.

The REIT added the properties have posted weighted average releasing spreads of 12% over the last two years, which Blackstone described as a measurement of the change in rent per square foot between new and expiring leases at a property. The portfolio posted average effective annual base rent of $4.31/square foot as of March 31.

The acquisition was funded through a combination of cash on hand, a $5 million draw on the REIT’s line of credit, and a short-term $292 million loan from various lenders lead by Bank of America. The REIT expects to convert the loan shortly after closing long-term financing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

FASB Leases Standard to Offer Clearer View of Corporate Liability (Video)

Health Network Labs Leases 15,000 SF in Bethlehem

Health Network Laboratories has signed a 15,400-square-foot office lease in the Fuller Co office building located at 2040 Avenue C in Bethlehem, PA.

The tenant will relocate to the first floor of the updated annex building in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park I. The 164,451-square-foot office building has been recently updated with a main entrance, natural light, flexible layouts and additional parking.

Health Network intends on using the space as additional administrative office space. The company has locations across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

HT Lyons Renews 122,000-SF Lease in Allentown

H T Lyons, a contracting, engineering and maintenance company, has renewed its industrial lease for the 122,400-square-foot building at 7165 Ambassador Dr. in Allentown, PA.

The single-story warehouse was built in 2002 on 10 acres in the Lehigh Valley Industrial submarket.

Monday, April 17, 2017

MRA Group Acquires 133 Acre Rohm & Haas (Dow) Campus in PA

MRA Group announced that it acquired the former Rohm & Haas Research & Development campus located at 727 Norristown Road, in Spring House, Lower Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County, PA.  Rebranded as the Spring House Technology Park, there currently exists 591,000 square feet in eleven buildings. The bucolic campus, which totals 133 acres situated at a full interchange with the Rt. 309 expressway, is less than three minutes north of the Ft. Washington exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Mike Wojewodka, Senior Vice President of MRA Group, states "we are transforming Spring House Technology Park into the premier, multi-use technology enhanced campus in the region. Plans include, in addition to first class office and laboratory facilities, a campus environment with a university-affiliated regional center of excellence for innovation and advanced production, a laboratory incubation and commercialization center, a boutique hotel with full amenities, co-working space with on-demand offices and shared office/conference facilities, on-site child daycare, a health/fitness center, and a retail village containing approximately 40,000 square feet of restaurants and other amenities. Our focus is in attracting companies that can best utilize the robust existing laboratory infrastructure at one of the best locations in the Philadelphia region."

According to Hank Merrill, Vice President of Facility Engineering at MRA Group, "the in-place laboratory infrastructure is invaluable for laboratory users and technology companies. The cost to replicate what we already have in place would be immense, and certainly will be a significant benefit to any forward-thinking company that prefers to direct capital to other needs besides building improvements.  Our utility infrastructure alone will translate to measurable operating savings over what space users will typically find available on the market today."

Heather DeFreytas, MRA Group Vice President for Project Design and Management, plans to embrace and enhance unique architectural features of the campus, along with including an outdoor amphitheater and meeting spaces, nature trails for use by tenants and the community, and the conversion of an existing barn into a coffee shop and restaurant.  Heather observed, "the opportunities presented on this campus are complex. Design and construction for each building will reflect a balance between technology, innovation, sustainability and the neighboring environment.  Though some of the buildings appear tired now, they in fact possess features that are very much desired by space users today.  It will not take much to bring them up to MRA standards."

Larry Stuardi, CEO of MRA Group, states that "the development of Spring House Technology Park is a collaborative endeavor with Lower Gwynedd Township.  There is a shared vision for the redevelopment of the campus, and though there are details to be worked out, we generally are on the same page when it comes to the overall development of the site.  We are all aware that we have the opportunity to do something special and unique, and we are collaborating so as to get it right."

Monthly Economic Outlook – April 2017 (Video)