Friday, May 30, 2014

Own Property in Montgomery County? Tax Appeal Deadlines Approaching

If you own property in Montgomery County, PA and would like to appeal your property taxes, here are some helpful sites and dates:

General site:
Appeal form:
Deadline to File: August 1, 2014

Filing fees:
Single family Residential (Excluding Apartments) – Fifty Dollars ($50.00)
Residential (Multi-Family) – One Hundred Dollars ($100.00)
Commercial and Industrial – Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00)
Preferentially Assessed Properties – Fifty Dollars ($50.00)
Exemptions – Two Hundred dollars ($200.00)

There is legislation on the books to reform property taxes.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Piramal Glass USA has leases over 200,000sf in NJ

Piramal Glass USA has leased more than 200,000 square feet of distribution and office space in South Brunswick.
The tenant in the move to 329 Herrod Blvd., a facility owned by Liberty Property Trust. Piramal Glass is relocating and expanding from its current warehouse in the Mays Landing section of Hamilton Township.

The new space totals 209,106 square feet, the news release said. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Redeveloped Wayne Office Attracts New Tenants

by Antoinette Martin, the New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for
Three new tenants, including a national law firm, have taken a total of 53,500 square feet at the redeveloped CrossPoint at Valley Forge office campus. The building, which opened in January, is now 81% leased, according to the owners.
The Davis Companies and MIM-Hayden Real Estate Funds jointly own the building. The law firm tenant is Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, which has offices in 32 cities.
Medecision, a provider of healthcare management services, and Conestoga Capital Advisors, an independent investment advisory firm, are the other two new tenants.
There is 48,000 square feet of space remaining at the building, which is being marketed as “best-in-class” office space for the Main Line/King of Prussia area.
“We made a major commitment to the Wayne, PA, market, not only through buying CrossPoint, but also by investing approximately $19 million over the past two years to transform the nearly vacant, outdated buildings into one of the highest quality suburban office complexes in Philadelphia,” saidDuncan Gilkey, of The Davis Companies.
The new tenants join Teleflex Inc., Rovi Corp. and ColdLight Solutions as occupants of CrossPoint.
Gilkey says the strong leasing pace at CrossPoint is more evidence that the “flight-to-quality” trend continues for office users. The building has an array of new on-site amenities, including a fitness center, conference facilities, a full-service cafĂ© and coffee bar, lounges and community space, and in-building covered parking. Its location is convenient to the amenities of Wayne and King of Prussia.

Made in Montgomery County - Spotlight on Local Manufacturing (Video)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Over One Million Square Feet of New Office Space in Conshohocken

by Kevin Tierney,
There is currently just over one million square feet of office space approved to be built or seeking approval in Conshohocken (one project is in Whitemash with a Conshohocken address). The projects are:
260,000 square foot Seven Tower Bridge by Oliver Tyrone Pulver (riverfront south side of bridge on Conshy side)
    Approved 200,000 square foot “Trophy office tower” by Keystone Properties (corner of West 1st and Fayette Street) (the link is to the original proposal)
      Proposed 240,000 square foot corporate headquarters by O’Neill Properties (riverfront in from of Millennium buildings)

      Proposed 300,000 square foot office building to replace approved apartment community (West Elm and Corson Street)

      Proposed 84,000 square foot office building on riverfront from Eli Kahn (901 Washington Street with Conshohocken address in Whitemarsh)

      Two notes, we did not include the Verizon Building with this, because it was somewhat recently used as an office building, so its not really new space. It should also be noted that the 200,000 square foot office building from Keystone is proposed to replace an existing smaller building (just under 40,000 square feet). So the net new office square footage for the Keystone building is 160,000 square feet.
      As of right now, the only developer that has publicly stated that its building has a tenant is O’Neill Properties. While O’Neill hasn’t publicly acknowledged who the tenant will be, it is speculated that it is AmerisourceBergen due to this article in the Philadelphia Business Journal.
      We also want to point out that the 300,000 square foot office building proposed for West Elm and Corson Street is the same space that was previously approved for an apartment community. We had heard the developer was having second thoughts about apartments and the new concept for the property is on the agenda for the Zoning Hearing Board on Monday, June 2nd.  The meeting is at 7:00 p.m. at Old Borough Hall at West 8th and Fayette.
      Full story:

      KTR Will Develop 172-Acre Parcel in Hanover; Amazon?

      By Antoinette Martin, staff writer for
      KTR Capital Partners, which has been effectively acting as Amazon’s development partner at sites around the country, has acquired a 172-acre parcel of industrial land in this community.
      The company did not announce any arrangement with Amazon, but says it will begin site work and infrastructure improvements this year that allow a building to be delivered as early as the first quarter of next year.
       The parcel can support total development of over 2.3 million square feet of industrial buildings in various configurations, including a single building with up to 1.9 million square feet, KTR says in an announcement of the deal. The site is located about a mile from I-81, the main North/South corridor connecting northeastern Pennsylvania with various distribution arteries.
      “Over 40% of the nation’s population lives within a 600 mile radius of this location. making it a prime destination for regional distribution facilities,” KTR says in an announcement posted on its web site. The site is a designated Keystone Opportunity Zone, meaning developers and tenants are eligible for various special incentives.
      “This land site is well-positioned to capitalize on build-to-suit opportunities for ‘super regional’ requirements which have become increasingly popular throughout the country and in Northeastern Pennsylvania,”says PJ Charlton, KTR’s senior vice-president for investments.
      Charlton says the site can easily be developed to provide additional car and trailer parking, truck staging areas for larger users and enhanced security.
      KTR’s development and construction teams currently have 5 million square feet of projects underway, consisting of both speculative and build-to-suit development, according to the company.

      O’Neill Proposes ‘Movie Palace’ in Malvern

      Joseph N. DiStefano, Writer for Philadelphia Inquirer

      Developer Brian O'Neill's King of Prussia-based O'Neill Properties has announced another deal to get a high-end movie theater into Uptown Worthington, his long-running development project at the former National Rolling Mills/Worthington Steel complex in East Whiteland Township, Chester County.

      This time O'Neill is projecting a ground-floor Cobb VIP movie theater plus an upstairs Cinebistro theater-restaurant, combining "for a two-story 85,000 square foot movie palace" that would be "the largest luxury theatre built in the United States in the past 30 years," complete with wine bar, gas-fired lanterns, "60 foot tall grand lobby with formal stairs and an elevator." (For a somewhat similar, family-oriented regional movie chain, see Penn Theaters of Lancaster County and Wilmington.) 

      It's seven years almost to the day since O'Neill proposed a 92,000-sq ft, simliarly appointed Muvico theater and dinner complex for the same space; that blew up in the real estate crash and O'Neill's resulting legal-financial war with his Citizens Bank lenders, resolved in 2011.

      Cobb owner Robert M. Cobb's family started in the movie business in Alabama in 1921. In a statement, Cobb said "spectacular movie theatres, exquisite service, fine food and attention to every detail allows us to outperform" mass market cinema chains. He promised "1920s glamour" with modern "Hollywood splendor." 
      Full story:

      Delinquent property tax collection on the rise

      Philadelphia has collected more than $45 million in back property taxes in the first four months of the year and cut the number of tax-delinquent properties by about 30,000 - a reduction of 25 percent from the previous year, records show.

      Revenue commissioner Clarena Tolson said the $45 million represents about half the $91 million in delinquent property-tax revenue collected for all of last year. It poured in from properties whose balances were eliminated through payment or sheriff's sale, and through partial payments on outstanding bills, she said.
      "Once people realize the city has changed its approach to delinquency, they tend to pay," Tolson said. She credits her department's collection success to "a concerted and strategic effort to support the school district through aggressive collection of taxes."

      At the end of 2013, the city had 126,000 tax-delinquent properties, owing more than $575 million in back taxes on file, according to records obtained by the Daily News. By April 15, the number of delinquent properties - most of them fewer than three years behind - had dropped by about 30,000, records show.
      The largest tax debts cleared included $8 million collected through the settlement of the former Foxwoods site, at 1499 S. Columbus Blvd., and just over $900,000 paid by Penn Wynn Inc., owner of a large apartment complex at 2201 Bryn Mawr Ave., which owed four years' worth of back taxes.
      Penn Wynn paid up, Tolson said, after the city threatened to sell the property at sheriff's sale to collect the debt.

      "It's great they're able to really start collecting," said Jeff Goldman, of South Philadelphia, co-founder of Scioli Turco, a nonprofit that rehabs derelict properties in Philadelphia.

      "The school district really needs ," he said, referring to a portion of the tax revenue that will go to help fund city schools. "In other cities, if you don't pay for two years, you've got to scramble. It's about time."

      Rents cut at 1 World Trade Center

      The owners of the World Trade Center's signature skyscraper are slashing office rents nearly 10 percent because they can't find enough tenants.

      The Wall Street Journal reports that 1 World Trade Center is 55 percent leased. It says no private office tenant has signed a lease in almost three years.

      The owners are cutting asking rents to $69 a square foot for larger tenants on the building's middle floors. Developer Douglas Durst tells the newspaper that's down from $75 a square foot.

      Durst bought a stake in the 1,776-foot tower from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2011.

      Major tenants in the building include magazine publisher Conde Nast and the government's General Services Administration.

      The skyscraper, the nation's tallest building, is scheduled to open later this year.

      PriceRite Leases 40,887 in Scranton

      The owners of Luzerne Plaza completed a lease transaction with PriceRite for 40,887 sf of retail space. Located at 611 Luzerne Street in Scranton, PA, PriceRite provides grocery items for low prices.

      With more 50 locations throughout the Northeast, PriceRite focuses on keeping operating costs low so they can pass significant savings along to its customers. Known for its unmatched value, PriceRite offers customers the same quality foods as traditional supermarkets at about half the price.

      Sale of 46,818 SF Flex Building In West Chester

      The sale of a 46,818 square foot two story flex building located at 300 Lawrence Drive in West Chester, PA traded for $2,900,000.

      The sellers were Mauger & Company, Inc.           
       The Buyers, Community Volunteers in Medicine, Inc., who were Tenants in the building.
       300 Lawrence Drive is an impeccably maintained two story flex building. Amenities include gas heat, six
       loading docks and three drive-in doors, ceiling heights of 20’ to 24’, public water and sewer and 100 plus parking spaces. The building is located just off of North Five Points Road, convenient to Routes 202, 100 and 3 and the Route 30 Bypass, within minutes of the Borough of West Chester, Exton and Downingtown.

      The "High" Demand for Marijuana Grow Houses (Video)

      Thursday, May 22, 2014

      Office Trends Q1 2014 (Video)

      Urban Real Estate Trends (Video)

      Stoneybrook Apts Sell for $21M

      Viking Associates purchased the Stoneybrook Apartments at 801 Cooper St. in Woodbury, NJ for $21.24 million, or about $82,000 per unit, from Resource Investments Ltd. 

      The 230,394-square-foot multifamily property was originally built in 1974. It consists of 17 buildings with 258 units with fully equipped kitchens, A/C, walk in closets, washer/ dryers, and storage units.

      R.J. Waters & Assoc Sells William Penn Plaza for $8M

      Time Equities, Inc. purchased the William Penn Plaza at 3079 William Penn Hwy in Easton, PA from R.J. Waters & Associates, Inc. for $8 million, or about $88 per square foot. 

      The 91,211-square-foot building was constructed in 1985 in Northampton County. The propertyw as 92 percent occupied at the time of sale.

      Sure Power Buys Ridley Park Industrial Bldg

      Sure Power, Inc. acquired the industrial building at 200 Industrial Hwy in Ridley Park, PA from M.R. Properties Associates for $3.03 million, or about $74 per square foot. 

      The single-story, 41,060-square-foot industrial building was built in 1995 in the Delaware County submarket. The 6.5-acre lot has easy access to I-95.

      Wednesday, May 21, 2014

      Sky Zone to Occupy 20,000 SF at CenterPoint East

      by John Jordan, Globe Street

      Entertainment company Sky Zone will occupy 20,400 square feet of space and open Northeastern Pennsylvania’s first trampoline park at Mericle Commercial Real Estate ServicesCenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East building here.
      The new venture to be launched at the site by Sky Zone, called “Sky Zone Scranton,” which will feature will feature connecting trampolines in an open court with approximately 12,500 square feet of jump space, two dodge ball courts, a "SkySlam" basketball court, a fitness class called "SkyRobics" and a Foam Zone. The family entertainment business is expected to open this September at the 120,000-square-foot flex building at 525 Keystone Ave.
      “This project demonstrates, perhaps more than any other, how flexible our flex buildings really are," Besecker says. "Whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, office or medical firm, or even an indoor trampoline park, we can customize our flex space to your exact needs."
      SkyZone plans to hire 65 to 70 people, mostly part-time with five full-time staff members.

      Federal Donuts to Open 4th Location

      by Michael Klein,
      National Doughnut Day is the first Friday in June.

      A day later - Saturday, June 7 - will mark the debut of the fourth Federal Donuts shop. It's coming together now at 701 Fairmount Ave., on the corner of Seventh Street and Fairmount Avenue in West Poplar.
      Partners Tom Henneman, Bob Logue, Steve Cook, Michael Solomonov and Felicia D’Ambrosio enlisted Boxwood Architects to fit out 2,000 square feet with a 40-seater. It has a parking lot.

      FedNuts on Fairmount will open at 7 a.m. with baharat-spiced cake doughnuts in both fancy and Hot Fresh flavors, and drip and cold-brewed coffee by Elixr Coffee Roasters. Fried chicken service begins at 11 a.m., seven days a week. Closing time is 7 p.m. or sell-out.

      On opening day from noon to 4 p.m., FedNuts will sell fried chicken doughnut sandwiches ($6 including tax) and will partner with Little Baby's ice cream to create hot doughnut ice cream bombs ($5 including tax).
      FedNuts also has shops in South Philly, Center City, and University City.

      Monday, May 19, 2014

      Crowd Funding Real Estate: A Different Kind of REIT (Video)

      Jay Samit Shares His Big Property Investing Fear (Video)

      First $230M Phase of East Market to get under way

      by Natalie Kostelni, Staff Writer for the Philadelphia Business Journal
      Demolition of what many know as Girard Square in Center City will begin this summer and construction of a new development called East Market will begin in earnest.
      The 4.3-acre site takes up an entire city block bound by Market, Chestnut, 11th and 12th streets. The building fronting Market Street will be taken down and the first phase will rise in its place. It will total $230 million and encompass 650,000 square feet.
      That initial phase will include constructing a 17-story tower that will have the first two levels dedicated to 160,000 square feet of retail space and the remainder an apartment structure with 322 units. It will also involve renovating the 200,000-square-foot family court building and preparing that for retail space on the street level and office space above.
      The market will dictate when the subsequent phases get developed and how, said Daniel Killinger, director of development at the union-backed National Real Estate Development, one of the partners in the project.
      NREA is part of National Real Estate Advisors, which had previously been known as the National Electrical Benefit Fund. It was involved in the construction of the new apartment tower at 2116 Chestnut St.
      The other stakeholders in East Market include Joss Realty Partners, Young Capital and SSH Real Estate.
      The pace of development will be steady and respond to market forces.
      “What’s important to use is to be bold in our vision but also successful in each of the phases,” Killinger said.
      An interesting aspect of the development, which I have written about before, is how it is designed. The block will be bifurcated and a pedestrian walkway will stretch from Market Street all the way to Chestnut Street and Midtown Village. Retail and restaurants will line the walkway.
      The developer also plans to relocate all of the service activities, such as trash, that happen along Ludlow Street and Clover Lane, so that vehicular traffic can move freely through those alleys.
      At build out the project will cost an estimated $500 million and total 2 million square feet.
      Full story:

      Ellis Preserve Building Gets $34M Refinance

      By Antoinette Martin, the New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for

      Joseph Merrill Capital a real estate investment-banking firm headquartered in New York City, has arranged a $33.9 million refinance loan for Equus Capital Partners’ building in Ellis Preserve just outside Philadelphia.
      The building at 3805 West Chester Pike in the 218-acreEllis Preserve master-planned community has 240,352 square feet of office space, 89% occupied. The Ellis Preserve campus - when it is complete - will consist of 1.4 million square feet of office, 450,000 square feet of retail, 400 residential units and two hotels.
      Equus acquired the entire campus ten years ago and development is still in progress.
      Equus’ entire portfolio comprises 24 million square feet of office, industrial, and retail properties and nearly 17,000 apartment units in more than 65 multifamily communities around the country.
      Joseph Merrill structured the financing for the Ellis Preserve project with a foreign bank looking to expand its commercial real estate footprint in the US, managing principal James Rizzi “The advantageous financing terms include non-recourse, no prepayment penalty, and pricing of Libor plus 225,” says Rizzi.
      Joseph Merrill’s capital markets team acts as a conduit to more than 300 life insurance, pension fund, commercial and regional lenders. The group focuses on recapitalization projects for institutional clientele, but Rizzi says it is also currently looking at transactions for a number of balance-sheet permanent and bridge lending programs.
      Full story:

      Philadelphia Metro Apt. Market Is Tightening

      By Antoinette Martin,  New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for

      Noting rising demand and little availability for multifamily properties within the Philadelphia submarket, the  110-unit apartment complex sold in short order.
      The complex has 26 one-bedroom and 84 two-bedroom apartments. New kitchen cabinets and appliances were recently installed and the brokers said the property presented “upside potential” for higher rents when renovations are completed.
      MapleView Apartments are within walking distance of downtown Merchantville, close to Cherry Hill Mall and Route 70 and Route 38. A bus stop is located in front of the property.
      “The market for multifamily properties remains very strong throughout New Jersey.  We noticed a marked increase in demand among investors for properties in and around the area, given its close proximity to Philadelphia, the lack of availability properties, high occupancies and increasing rents.”
      At the time of closing, the property was 98% occupied.
      Full story:

      Multi-family data a positive? (Video)

      Thursday, May 15, 2014

      Philly Tower Revived, Offered as 'Trophy'

      by John Jordan and Antoinette Martin,
      The 37-story A office tower 1818 Beneficial Bank Place, turned around from approaching foreclosure two years ago by Sovereign Capital Management Group Inc., is now for sale in a much healthier market as a trophy.
      "We're extremely pleased with both the building's recovery and the renaissance taking place in Philadelphia's central business district," said Sovereign's CEO, Todd A. Mikles. "Philly's CBD is now experiencing considerable compression in cap-rates, along with significant increases in rents, occupancy, and price-per-square foot."
      "We've already received tremendous interest and expect a robust bidding process and record-breaking pricing for this trophy Philadelphia asset," Mikles said. 
      San Diego-based Sovereign has retained Cushman & Wakefield to secure a buyer for the 1-million-square-foot property that includes a 408-space parking garage.
      Despite its location at the intersection of 19th Street and Market Street - considered the corner  "Main and Main," in Center City - foreclosure was imminent for the tower in 2012. Sovereign Capital stepped in at the moment of greatest distress to partner with tenant-in-common investors, inject fresh capital, and execute an aggressive leasing campaign focused on large tenant deals and long-term lease renewals.
      In less than two years, occupancy was up 20% according to Mikles. The Sovereign executive says average annual lease rollover is projected at 10% through 2020.
      Last year, three companies established corporate headquarters at 1818 Market: national retailer Five Below, Medical Guardian, and Beneficial Mutual Bancorp. Beneficial, Philadelphia's oldest bank, occupies 95,000 square feet, with a lease agreement that included naming rights to teh building and rooftop signage.
      As of May 1, the renamed 1818 Beneficial Bank Place was 91% occupied by 63 tenants.

      Ground is Broken for Liberty Gas Plant

      by John Jordan,
      Officials with Dallas, TX-basedPanda Power Funds were joined by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett for the groundbreaking of the Liberty 829-megawatt Marcellus Shale gas power plant here today.
      The plant is expected to contribute slightly less than $6 billion to the area’s economy during construction and its first 10 years of operation and will create 500 jobs during the development of the plant. During operations, the generating station will create an estimated 27 skilled jobs to operate the facility and 45 indirect jobs within the community to support the plant.
      Panda Power officials report the Liberty project is the first power plant deliberately sited in the heart of the Marcellus Shale region to take advantage of low natural gas prices and transportation costs. Panda expects commercial operations at the plant will begin by early 2016.
      “By growing Pennsylvania’s world-class energy industry in a safe and responsible way, we are building a stronger Pennsylvania,” says Gov. Corbett. “As our economy continues to grow, companies like Panda Power Funds are investing in our commonwealth and are creating hundreds of family-sustaining jobs.”
      “We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars here precisely because Governor Corbett and other Commonwealth officials have been far sighted in developing Pennsylvania’s abundant natural resources,” says Todd W. Carter, president and senior partner of Panda Power Funds. “Because of their vision, Pennsylvania is leading the nation toward economic prosperity and energy independence.”

      Whole Foods to relocate one of its Montgomery County stores

      By Natalie Kostelni, Staff Writer for the Philadelphia Business Journal
      Whole Foods plans to relocate its North Wales store down the road to Lower Gwynedd.
      The grocer has leased 45,000 square feet at the Springhouse Village Shopping Center at 1111 Bethlehem Pike.
      The 150,282-square-foot retail center is owned by Stoltz Real Estate of Bala Cynwyd, Pa. It was built in 1972 and shows its age. It also took a hit when a Clemens grocery store vacated a few years ago. The new Whole Foods will anchor the center, of which a portion will be redeveloped.
      Whole Foods is targeting to open the new store by late 2015.
      The strong demographics of the site make it a good bet for Whole Foods. Average household income within a mile of the center is $185,548 and within three miles, average household income totals $136,334.

      Real Estate Rallies as REITS, Stocks Build Gains (Video)

      Wednesday, May 14, 2014

      Wells Fargo Branch Sells for $6.6M

      The Provco Group sold the retail building at 6918 Ridge Ave. in Philadelphia, PA to Ash Realty Associates for $6.6 million, or about $1,600 per square foot. 

      The single-story, 4,051-square-foot bank branch was constructed in 2009 on one acre in Philadelphia County. It is under a long-term, triple-net lease with Wells Fargo.

      Pond Lehocky Leases 52,000 SF at One Commerce Sq

      Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano LLP has leased 52,000 square feet of office space at One Commerce Square, located at 2005 Market St. in Philadelphia. 

      The law firm will relocate to the space in December 2014 and occupy space on the 3rd, 18th and 19th floors. 

      One Commerce Square is a 41-story, 942,478-square-foot, 4-Star office building constructed in 1987 on 1.4 acres in the Market Street West submarket. Renovated in 2013, on-site amenities include property management, fitness center, parking garage, landscaped courtyard, easy access to public transportation and local highways. This is an Energy Star building and was certified LEED Silver.

      Finding commercial real estate's sweet spot (Video)

      State Leased Office Portfolio Trades for $26.6M

      A group of investors including Lakestar Properties, Goldstone Group, and Brius Management acquired the seven-building office portfolio in Dover, DE from CD Realty Advisors, Inc. for $26.6 million, or about $118 per square foot. 

      The portfolio is comprised of six office buildings totaling 170,696 square feet at 800-861 Silver Lake Rd. in addition to a 55,050-square-foot industrial/office building two miles south at 100 Enterprise Pl., all in the Kent County submarket of Philadelphia. The assets offer regional access with proximity to Dupont Hwy / Rt 13 and Rt 1. 

      Included in the Silver Lake portfolio is a six-acre site on the western shore of Silver Lake with approvals in-place to develop an additional 60,000 square feet of office space

      "This was an excellent opportunity for an investor to take over a professionally managed state-leased asset with no deferred maintenance, new roofs on six of the seven buildings and an in-place solar panel system providing tenants in Silver Lake with a green energy source." 

      Occupancy across the portfolio is currently at 97 percent, with various State of Delaware agencies occupying more than 80 percent there, including the Office of Management and Budget and its various divisions, Dept. of Insurance, Dept. of Family Services, Dept. of Finance, Veterans Affairs, Criminal Justice, Dept. of Treasury, and the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, among others. 

      "The agencies located here are core to the state government, and have demonstrated their satisfaction with these buildings by growing their occupancy from 20 percent of the portfolio 15 years ago to 80 percent today. The varying expiration dates and the state’s AAA credit made this a rare opportunity for a buyer seeking exceptional returns from an institutional-quality portfolio." 

      The acquisition was funded in-part with a $21.75 million loan from Ladder Capital. Shaya Ackerman with Eastern Union Funding arranged the financing, locking in three years of interest-only payments on a 10-year term with a 30-year amortization schedule. 

      "Government leases have built into them an out-clause allowing them to break the lease at any time, which from a financing standpoint is a huge risk," said Ackerman. "We worked in tandem with Ladder Capital to minimize that risk for everyone involved and the final product was a non-recourse loan backed by a tremendous asset."

      Monthly Economic Outlook -- May 2014 (Video)

      Monday, May 12, 2014

      Navient Signed a Long Term Lease in DE

      Navient has signed a long term lease for over 45,000 SF at the Star Building, located along the Wilmington riverfront.   

      Created from the strategic separation of Sallie Mae into two companies, Navient will become an independent, publicly traded company later this year. Navient is expected to service nearly $300 billion in student loans, providing customer support to assist 12 million customers to successfully navigate the path to financial success. Navient also will continue to perform asset recovery for government, higher education and business clients.  

      With the signing of this lease, only 29,152 SF remain available for lease at the Star building.  Along with Navient, other tenants in the Star building include DuPont, Grant & Eisenhofer, and Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects.  

      Levittown Partners, LLC, Recently Purchased Shopping Center in Levittown

      Levittown Partners, LLC, recently purchased the former Giant supermarket at 4595 New Falls Road in Levittown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The property was sold by Levittown – ARC, L.P.  

      The 40,045 square foot building, situated on 4.6 acres of land, is in the process of being redeveloped into a new shopping center, anchored by Retro Fitness and Dollar Tree. This site has a traffic-lit entrance with off-street parking for 197 cars, and offers large pylon signage directly on New Falls Road, which has an average daily traffic count of 23,700 cars. A 12,000 square foot endcap space and a future pad site of 5,500 square feet are available for lease.

      Retro Fitness signed a 10-year lease to occupy a 13,000 square foot space in the redeveloped building. Retro Fitness is a modern personal fitness concept with over 110 locations in 13 states, offering workout equipment, personal training, classes, and a range of member amenities. The Retro Fitness facility is projected to open in Summer 2014.  

      Dollar Tree also signed a 10-year lease and will occupy a 12,000 square foot space next to Retro Fitness. Dollar Tree, a well-known discount variety store, operates more than 4,900 stores in North America.

      Google paying as much as $250M for office park

      Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Real Estate Reporter- Silicon Valley Business Journal

      Google Inc. is buying a 400,000-square-foot office park in Mountain View in its largest Silicon Valley real estate acquisition this year, and sources say the price could set a record in the region.
      The search-advertising giant is reportedly paying a stunning $250 million, or $625 per square foot, for the 24-acre project at 700 E. Middlefield, according to three industry sources not directly connected to the deal, which has not yet closed. That would make it among the highest-value recent Silicon Valley deals on a square-foot basis. In fact, it could be a record for older, 1980s-era product outside of Palo Alto, one broker told me.
      Google's ravenous appetite for space has been perhaps the biggest storyline in Silicon Valley commercial real estate, and the pending deal shows that the company isn't ready to slow down. In the past 24 months, Google has paid $331 million for 11 properties in the region, according to Real Capital Analytics. That makes Google the No. 1 buyer in the region, measured by both number of properties and total price, RCA statistics show.
      "They're very aggressive in terms of growth, and they're not really pressured by profitability because, the way they're structured, the stockholders really have no vote," said longtime tech analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. "For the near-term, they're likely to keep expanding."
      The company now controls vast swaths of land from Palo Alto to Mountain View and into Sunnyvale, mostly concentrated north of Highway 101. Its portfolio will soon include Moffett Federal Airfield, which Google intends to lease from the government.
      "I don't think there's anything like this that's ever been done, and with the magnitude," the developer, landlord and investor Carl Berg, who himself is no stranger to Silicon Valley megadeals, told me when I spoke with him earlier this week.
      The four-building Middlefield campus that Google is buying was built in the 1980s and is currently home toSynopsys Inc., but the electronic design automation company is moving across the street to a new office complex next year.
      Property owner Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management (formerly known as Rreef) and Sares Regis Group of Northern California have been working since 2012 to redevelop the site into a modern, 1 million-square-foot campus. They have not yet received city approvals.
      It's unclear whether Google will continue trying to redevelop the site or occupy it as-is, but Google is already working with Sares Regis on another ground-up project: A 1.1 million-square-foot campus, dubbed Bay View, on land it leases from NASA at Moffett Federal Airfield. That project is currently being redesigned, though basic site work is continuing.

      Camden Office Project Could Get Major Incentives

      by Natalie Kostelni, Staff Writer for the Philadelphia Business Journal

      Brandywine Realty Trust has reportedly been named as the developer for the corporate campus that Campbell Soup Co. has long wanted to construct near its headquarters in Camden, N.J.
      Campbell Soup has been working on plans since 2007 for what it calls the Gateway Office Park, which would allow the construction of what some estimated as roughly 2 million square feet at the site. Campbell would have Brandywine design, build and lease up space that would eventually be constructed in multiple phases at the site that totals more than 100 acres.
      Part of those plans include getting PATCO to build a stop at the office park — an effort that could take five to 10 years.
      Brandywine declined to comment.
      The Gateway Office Park is one large component to efforts New Jersey and local agencies are undertaking to revitalize Camden and trying to lure companies and more economic activity to the distressed city.

      Hotel Occupancy Increases in Bucks County

      By John Jordan, Staff writer for

      The official tourism agency for Bucks County, Visit Bucks County, reports that county’s hotel occupancy rate in the first quarter rose 9.4%.
      The county’s $877.3-milion tourism sector also saw hotel RevPAR (revenue per available room) rise 2% during the first three months of this year and hotel revenue up a rather hearty 10.2%.
      The Visit Bucks County reports that tourism in Bucks County generates $877.3 million in local economic impact, $117 million in federal, state and local taxes, and supports 11,637 jobs locally.
      More than 100 members of Bucks County's tourism and hospitality industry gathered at theCentre Bridge Inn in New Hope, PA on Tuesday to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week. Visit Bucks County distributed more than $180,000 in grants and handed out awards to: Hospitality Leadership Award: Michael ContiNew Hope Winery; Guest Services Excellence Award:Harold MitchenerBristol Cultural and Historical Foundation; Rising Star Award: David PeoplesHampton Inn Doylestown; Community Service Award: Sesame Place Cares; and the Dedicated Partner Award: Eve MoodyShady Brook Farm.

      Law Firm Signs Major Lease in Center City

      by Natalie Kostelni, Staff writer for the Philadelphia Business Journal
      Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano will relocate its law offices to One Commerce Square from United Plaza in Center City.
      The law firm signed a long-term lease on 52,000 square feet on floors three, 18 and 19 at the trophy building at 21st and Market streets and stands as one of the largest lease deals to get signed in the Central Business District so far this year. The fast growing firm is expanding from 30,000 square feet at United Plaza at 30 S. 17th St.
      Pond Lehocky, which focuses on workers' compensation and social security disability, started out in 2010 with 7,000 square feet and 28 employees. It has grown to more than 180 people in six offices.
      The law firm had been looking for space since January 2013 when it had two years left on its lease. It considered several options, Soens said. One of which was venturing out to the suburbs, where they considered buying a building or splitting the two practice groups into different locations. An analysis concluded the firm should stay in a single building downtown.
      A list was narrowed to five buildings including renewing at United Plaza. One Commerce Square was picked.
      “The move offers them trophy space, which is so tight, at reasonable rates,” Soens said. “It will get increasingly harder to get reasonable rates in trophy space.”

      Thursday, May 8, 2014

      Highspire Warehouse Trades for $3.1M

      Gannett Fleming, Inc. sold the industrial building at 401 Aviation Way in Highspire, PA to Plouse Precision Manufacturing for $3.1 million, or about $29 per square foot. 

      The 107,592-square-foot industrial building was constructed in 2000 and includes 13,368 square feet of office space on eight acres. The single-tenant warehouse property features seven loading docks, one drive-in bay, and 24-foot clear heights.

      Wyndmoor Gardens Sells for $7.1M

      Renzi Property Management, Inc. sold the 88-unit multifamily community at 219 E. Willow Grove Ave. in Philadelphia, PA to a private capital group for $7.1 million, or approximately $80,000 per unit. 

      The 63,000-square-foot apartment complex consists of five buildings built in 1950. Wyndmoor Gardens offers two studios, 31 one-bedroom and 55 two-bedroom apartments with asking rents between $600 and $1,000 per month.

      Lindley Towers Sells for $4.3M

      Lindley Tower Realty Co. LP acquired the seven-story multifamily property at 1220 Lindley Ave. in Philadelphia, PA from LS Ents Icn. for $4.3 million, or about $41,000 per unit. 

      The 68,7000-square-foot, 104-unit Lindley Towers high-rise apartment building consists of 28 studio, 67 one-bedroom, and 9 two-bedroom apartments with asking rents between $500 and $800 per month. It was built in 1938 in the Logan-Ogontz-Fern Rock submarket.

      What Office Tenants Want Post-Recession (Video)

      Tuesday, May 6, 2014

      Market Trend: Philadelphia Office Deliveries, Construction and Inventory

      During the first quarter 2014, five office buildings totaling 131,624 square feet were completed in the Philadelphia market area. This compares to eight buildings totaling 457,209 square feet that were completed in the fourth quarter 2013. 

      There were 1,194,598 square feet of office space under construction at the end of the first quarter 2014. 

      Some of the notable 2014 deliveries include: 1401 Roosevelt Ave, a 60,000-square-foot facility that delivered in first quarter 2014 and is now 100% occupied, and 3069 English Creek Ave, a 40,000-square-foot building that delivered in first quarter 2014 and is now unoccupied. 

      The largest projects underway at the end of first quarter 2014 were 3737 Market St, a 340,000-square-foot building with 74% of its space pre-leased, and 2006 Route 130 N, a 215,100-square-foot facility that is 100% pre-leased. 

      Total office inventory in the Philadelphia market area amounted to 400,734,635 square feet in 20,694 buildings as of the end of the first quarter 2014. The Class-A office sector consisted of 128,911,199 square feet in 955 projects. Within the Office market there were 916 owner-occupied buildings accounting for 35,288,471 square feet of office space. 

      This trend is compared to U.S. National Office deliveries and construction, which saw 321 buildings totaling 16.1 million square feet complete construction, with an additional 90.1 million square feet of office space still under construction at the end of the first quarter. 50 Northern Ave., a 550,000-square-foot facility delivered in the Boston market, while the 3.04 million-square-foot One World Trade Center in New York City is still underway. Total office inventory in the U.S. market totaled almost 10.4 billion square feet in more than 499,500 buildings at the end of the first quarter 2014, including some 20,000 owner-occupied buildings accounting for 884.5 million square feet of office space.

      Saturday, May 3, 2014

      Friendship Ridge Nursing Home Sells for $33.5M

      Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services, a consortium of investors and owner/operators in the New York area, has acquired the 605-bed Friendship Ridge Nursing Home at 246 Friendship Cir. in Beaver, PA from the County of Beaver for $33.5 million, or about $55,000 per bed. 

      The six-story, 357,984-square-foot skilled nursing facility was built in 1959 on 25 acres in the Beaver County submarket of Pittsburgh. It offers residents rehabilitation services, a secured Alzheimer's unit, long-term structured residence, a clinic, dialysis center, and several therapy options. 

      "The new ownership group has more than 50 years’ experience in long-term care and is eager to begin operating in Pennsylvania with Friendship Ridge as its initial investment," says Jandris. "The state’s strong reimbursement system is especially attractive for investors from New Jersey and New York where the introduction of managed Medicare is creating uncertainty." 

      Business value, operations, equipment, furniture and fixtures were included in the sale. The new owners will continue operation of the facility, hoping to capitalize on the asset's large size by implementing "incremental revenue increases and expense management strategies [to] greatly impact the bottom line," added Myers. 

      A deed restriction is in-place, allowing only skilled nursing facility, geriatric center, long-term care, assisted living, or similar healthcare facility to operate on the site until 2025. 

      The acquisition was funded in-part with a $28.13 million loan from Privatebank & Trust.