Monday, July 21, 2014

Wells Fargo CEO on CNBC (Video)

Lower Macungie approves 3 million square feet of warehouses

Lower Macungie Township officials signed off tonight on plans to construct just under 3 million square feet of warehouses.

The plans by developer Liberty Property Trust call for the buildings to be developed on 225 acres in the western part of the township, near Spring Creek and Mertztown roads.

The project includes three warehouses which are 1.2 million, 1.1 million and 650,000 square feet in size, as well as a 10,000-square-foot office building, township planning director Sara Pandl said.

Township commissioners voted 5-0 tonight to approve the project. Construction is expected to begin as early as this year and could conclude by 2015, according to Bill Bumber, Liberty Property Trust's vice president of development.

Some residents of Lower Macungie Township and neighboring Alburtis spoke against the project, saying it belonged in an industrial park off a highway rather than miles from two-lane township roads.

"I don't think Lower Macungie Township has any idea how much their quality of life will change," said Rob Mihok, a 12-year township resident. "I just think the township will be changed forever and, in my opinion, not in a good way."

This is the first project proposed for about 700 acres of Jaindl Land Co. farmland due to a land-use deal previously reached between township commissioners and David Jaindl.

That deal, reached in 2010, allowed Jaindl to develop commercial, industrial and residential projects on the land, in exchange for his past agreement to withdraw a quarry project proposed on the site, township officials said.

Commissioner Ronald Beitler said he disagrees with that past land deal, but because it has already been approved he felt ethically obligated to vote in favor of the warehouse project.

"I wish to God there was a way to overturn this, but we can't," he said. "We're locked into it, not only now but for the next 20 years. That's why I'm going to vote yes."

Bumber said Liberty Property Trust is not the developer for any projects on the other Jaindl land outside the 225 acres within this project.

Jason Bartos, who lives on Franklin Street in Alburtis, said he already cannot sleep because tractor trailers driving or idling outside his house; those trucks are coming to and from an industrial park on Schoeneck Road.

"I don't think Lower Macungie understands the magnitude of the quality of life problems caused by their decisions," Bartos said.

Beitler said he had previously expressed concern about the impact of tractor-trailer traffic on Alburtis Road, and had asked if right-hand turns could be stopped altogether off Congdon Hill Road.

"The answer I've consistently gotten is no," he said.

Traffic and stormwater drainage concerns have previously been raised regarding the project, but township engineer William Erdman believes they have all been addressed.

Erdman said certificates of occupancy for the buildings will be not be issued until the developer gets sufficient highway occupancy and traffic permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Regarding stormwater drainage, he said the developer has proposed infiltration of all drainage to the site, far more than required by the township, to reduce discharge as much as possible.

"The impacts have been mitigated above and beyond to the extent possible," Erdman said

Market Trend: Philadelphia Office Vacancy Down to 10.9%

The Philadelphia Office market ended the second quarter 2014 with a vacancy rate of 10.9%. 

The vacancy rate was down over the previous quarter, with net absorption totaling positive 876,918 square feet in the second quarter. That compares to negative 433,098 square feet in the first quarter 2014. Vacant sublease space decreased in the quarter, ending the quarter at 1,262,768 square feet. 

Tenants moving into large blocks of space in 2014 include: Incyte Corporation moving into 191,056 square feet at 1801 Augustine Cut Off; The Harrisburg University of Science & Technology moving into 149,820 square feet at Harrisburg University Academic Center; and Beneficial Mutual Bancorp, Inc. moving into 95,764 square feet at 1818 Beneficial Bank Place. 

Rental rates ended the second quarter at $21.48, an increase over the previous quarter. 

A total of seven buildings delivered to the market in the quarter totaling 413,734 square feet, with 2,116,720 square feet still under construction at the end of the quarter. 

This trend is compared to the U.S. National Office vacancy rate, which decreased to 11.4% from the previous quarter, with net absorption positive 24.53 million square feet in the second quarter. Average rental rates increased to $22.22, and 217 buildings delivered to the market totaling almost 11.4 million square feet.

Pipeline Taking Shared Workspace Concept to Philly

Miami-based Pipeline has signed a lease for 21,000 square feet at The Graham Bldg, located at 1 Penn Sq. W in Philadelphia, PA.

The 25-story, 241,831-square-foot, 4-Star office building was constructed in 1985 on a quarter-acre located across the street from Philadelphia's City Hall and adjacent to world-class museums, performing arts centers, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping. The area is home to numerous small businesses and startups.

Pipeline hopes to capitalize on the growing shared workspace trend spreading the country by opening its second location in Center City's Market Street West submarket. The tenant, recognized for its unique workspace, diverse membership programming, and high-end design, will offer a collaborative atmosphere in the upper floors of the building, boasting an open internal staircase, lounges, flexible workstations, private offices, conference rooms and event meeting space.

"Pipeline was built with the theory that a diverse community with overlapping goals fosters the highest likelihood of success for people within a community," says Todd Oretsky, co-founder, whom, working alongside fellow co-founder Philippe Houdard.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Equus Capital kills apartment plan, decides to construct office building in Conshohocken

by Natalie Kostelni, Staff writer for the Philadelphia Business Journal
Equus Capital Partners has switched gears with a large site it owns in Conshohocken, Pa., and has decided to construct an office building rather than an apartment complex.
The developer is looking to build a seven-story, 320,000-square-foot structure. The building would sit on West Elm Street and be walking distance of the Conshohocken train station. It would also be out of a floodplain that has bedeviled other existing structures during extended torrential downpours.
The building would be visible from I-476, giving prospective tenants the ability to have signage that would be highly visible from the highway, said Steve Spaeder of Equus Capital, a Philadelphia real estate firm.
Wulff Architects designed the building, which would have a series of on-site amenities that tenants increasingly desire in their offices such as dining, exercise facilities and common areas where people can gather to socialize. In addition, the floorplates are 45,000 square feet, a size that some firms want so they can have several departments on a single floor.
When Equus bought the 20-acre tract in 2011, it planned to construct 300 apartment units as it sought to seize upon what was then a fledgling appetite of multifamily housing development. Now, with so little office space available to lease in Conshohocken, the developer has decided an office building might be a better bet.
The overall vacancy rate of the 3.6 million-square-foot market is about 13.7 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s second quarter market report. That figure doesn’t take into account some leases that have been negotiated in recent weeks but haven’t started, which would push it down a little more.
Other developers also see an opportunity in Conshohocken. Oliver Tyrone Pulver and O’Neill Properties Group also want to construct new office space in the borough and drawn up plans for projects. Keystone Property Group is also looking to construct a mixed-use development at First and Fayette streets in the borough that would include an office component.

Cross Roads Beverage Leases 64,000 Sf

Cross Roads Beverage leased 64,000 sf. at 1001 Tuckerton Court in Muhlenberg Township
The building was previously occupied by W.R. Grace and Company for 20 years.  The building was a free standing 64,000 sf. distribution center.  The building will continue to serve as a distribution center for Cross Roads.