Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Greene Turtle Plans 10 Restaurants in Eastern PA

by Steve Lubetkin,
Maryland-based Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille chain will be coming to eastern Pennsylvania in 2016.

The company says a group of investors with more than 30 combined years of corporate management experience and ties to multiple global and regional quick-service and fast-casual restaurant franchises has signed a franchise agreement for the development of 10 units in Montgomery, Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton Counties.

Operating as The Integritty Group, franchisees Pranav Desai, Jiger Patel and Rajan Mahadevia are currently seeking properties and expect to open their first location in the spring of 2016.

“We are delighted to announce that as a continuation of our expansion beyond our Mid-Atlantic hub, we have secured a deal to establish a significant presence in Eastern Pennsylvania,” says Tom Finn, vice president of franchise business for The Greene Turtle. “In The Integritty Group’s partners, we have aligned with a team of very strategic thinkers who have extensive management background, including roles at IBM, and who are already familiar with the markets where they’ll be introducing our concept through their involvement in other restaurant systems. We feel strongly that they will be a great addition to our system and are perfectly qualified to bring The Greene Turtle to Pennsylvania.”

Pranav Desai says he and his business partners have been eyeing The Greene Turtle since before the chain began franchising. With business activity frequently taking them to Maryland and Washington, DC, he says, the partners had dined at The Greene Turtle in the past and had long been intrigued by its offering. When they learned that the chain was looking to franchise its concept in their market, he says, they approached the company to explore opportunities.

“Once we began researching the concept, we really liked what we saw,” he says. “We always wanted to get into a sports-themed concept and I liked that The Greene Turtle has intense brand loyalty and a broad appeal, especially with a stronger family demographic among its core customers. We also liked that the chain has a lot of room to grow in this market, and were impressed by the strong management in place and the fact that the corporate team has a good relationship with their other franchisees, it seemed like a great extension of our existing business mix.”

The Greene Turtle’s strong brand awareness is largely generated by the company’s involvement in community sports programs, and by its presence in high-traffic locations such as Ocean City, MD, Rehoboth Beach, DE, Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport, and Washington, DC’s Verizon Center.

Earlier this month, The Greene Turtle opened its 40th location. There are more than 40 additional locations already committed to for development by franchisees in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, including those covered in an 11-unit deal signed last year in South and Central New Jersey, as reported by, and in a separate 10-unit deal for New York’s Long Island.

Kushner Brings WeWork Coworking Space to Piazza

by Steve Lubetkin,

Capitalizing on the Philadelphia tech startup community’s romance with coworking facilities, Kushner Companies has signed WeWork, a co-working space provider, to more than 30,000 square feet at The Piazza in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, PA.

Coworking spaces allow entrepreneurial startup companies to rent small amounts of work space, either in common work areas or in small offices. The cross-fertilization of ideas that occurs when entrepreneurs work alongside each other has driven a number of successful Philadelphia startup stories, but WeWork joins a crowded coworking marketplace in Center City that already includes category pioneer Indy Hall, Benjamin’s Desk, The Hive Philly, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, and a number of others, including The Bunker, which opened at Benjamin’s Desk earlier this week to provide space for military veteran-owned startups, with sponsorship by local media giant Comcast Corporation.

Kushner says the new lease marks another step in the company’s ongoing transformation of The Piazza into a vibrant live/work community.

Acquired by Kushner and Oaktree Capital Management in 2013, the Piazza consists of 500 apartments, 100,000 square feet of commercial space and an 80,000-square-foot plaza on a portion of the former Schmidt’s Brewery site.

“WeWork is an amazing company that offers lifestyle, aesthetic and community,” says Jared Kushner, CEO of the Kushner Companies.  “They have been searching for the right location to enter the Philadelphia market for several years, and the fact that they chose Northern Liberties shows they understand who their customers are, and that the Piazza is a location where they can draw the right population."

Kushner and its partners are in the middle of a multi-million dollar transformation of the Piazza that includes renovation of the apartments, construction of a new parking deck and the conversion of more than half of the existing commercial space for office use.

“The Piazza is a phenomenal property that can be even better,” says Kushner.  “The Northern Liberties area is particularly attractive to millennials and creative people. With the right partners such as WeWork, we are developing a dynamic live-work community that will make the Piazza a destination that sparks interaction of both residents and growing creative companies.”

Camden Int'l Inks Early Renewal of 244,000-SF Space in Barrington

Camden International Commodity LLC has locked in its lease renewal for 244,465 square feet for an additional year at 1 Commerce Dr. in Barrington, NJ.

The building totals 931,560 square feet of industrial and warehousing space on 84.3 acres in Camden County. The Barrington Business Center building was constructed in 1956 and renovated in 2000.

Camden International Commodities has been in operation since 1994 and handles up to 125,000 metric tons of cargo each year. They are an eco-friendly company, and the first cocoa warehouse to have an ICE Futures Licensed Cocoa Grader in-house.

Sun Edison Leases 17,000 SF in Bristol

Sun Edison, a global leader in transforming how energy is generated, distributed and owned through solar power, has signed an eight-year lease for 17,079 square feet at 1414 Radcliffe St. in Bristol, PA.

Island View Crossing is a 183,000-square-foot office building in Lower Bucks County. Constructed in 1919 as an industrial building, it was completely renovated and converted to office use in 2004. Notable tenants in the building include Lenox, Inc. with over 96,000 square feet and Strategic Distribution, Inc. in more than 31,000 square feet. The building is now 93 percent leased.

StoneMor Signs 57,000-SF Office Lease at Horizon

StoneMor Partners, a full-service cemetery and funeral home corporation, signed a new 12-year lease to occupy 57,000 square feet of office space at 3600 Horizon Blvd. in Trevose, PA.

The company is one of the largest in the industry with over 100 years of experience. They are headquartered in Levittown, PA with funeral homes in 28 states and Puerto Rico.

The four-story, 126,858-square-foot, 4-Star, Horizon One office building was constructed in 2003 on 7.7 acres in the Lower Bucks County submarket of Philadelphia, part of the Horizon Corporate Center.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

No more room at Navy Yard as Liberty breaks ground on new building

Natalie Kostelni, Staff Writer, Philadelphia Business Journal

Liberty Property Trust has been working for about a year on plans for a new building at the South Philadelphia site. Liberty has 1.25 million square feet at the Navy Yard that is fully leased and, at the same time, has 400,000 square feet of prospects that have shown an interest in relocating to the campus overlooking the Delaware River.

With that in mind and signs of an improving real estate market, the Malvern, Pa., real estate investment trust brought in a year ago Bjarke Ingels Group to design a 94,000-square-foot structure overlooking its new Central Green. It wanted the design to be special. “The Navy Yard has always been about experimenting and pushing the envelop when it comes to design and furthering the vision of the Navy Yard as a modern, exciting place,” said Brian Cohen, vice president for Liberty.

When a team of architects from Bjarke Ingels Group walked the Central Green and took at look at the Navy Yard, they felt there was a unique opportunity to design a building that engaged the park in a playful way, Cohen said. The result is a four-story structure that compliments the contours of the circular park and appears as if it’s trying to grasp it. Liberty broke ground Tuesday on the building that it is developing in a joint venture with Synterra Partners. Though it has prospects, Liberty has not signed any tenants to occupy space in the building called 1200 Intrepid Ave.

Though there are inherent risks in moving forward on a speculative building, Liberty (NYSE: LPT) is confident it’s reading the market and the desirability of the Navy Yard right. “We started the building for Iroko as a spec building and got through design and were getting ready to break ground on it when Iroko executed a lease for the whole building,” Cohen said.

That building is 56,412 square feet. Then there was the 80,050-square-foot building Franklin Square Capital Partners now occupies. It was going to be spec, too, but Franklin Square came along and took part of the building. Then, the whole thing. Perhaps, history will repeat itself with 1200 Intrepid Ave. Chances are it will. “Before we started design on the building, we started seeing users and they were asking us what we had available,” Cohen said.

Tenants in the 5,000 to 25,000-square-foot range typically start looking at options six to 12 months before their leases expire, he said. The bigger ones at 25,000 to 100,000 square feet are out 12 to 18 months ahead of the lease expiration.
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