by Steve Lubetkin, Globest.com
When Accesso Partners acquired 1515 Market Street for $85 million in December 2014, it pledged to improve the 20-story, 502,000 square foot office tower that houses Temple University’s Center City campus and dozens of professional service firms.
Accesso, chosen from 100 potential buyers, kept its promise, made significant improvements and has raised occupancy from 82% to 92.3% in the past 18 months. Some 47,081 square feet of office space leases were executed in the first half of this year and leases totaling another 10,000 square feet are out for signature.
The Hallandale, FL real estate investment manager added a ninth-floor conference center as an exclusive free amenity for tenants. The lobby, elevator cabs, the underground concourse entrance leading to SEPTA, common corridors and bathrooms have been upgraded. Elevators at the property are being modernized and aesthetic changes are underway.
“Accesso is a serious owner and the first in a long time to actually make substantial investments in this building as evidenced by capital improvements already completed and planned,” says Keli Wallace, senior property manager for Accesso Services, the owner’s property management subsidiary.
Recent new tenants include Sage Acquisitions, a real estate law and asset management firm, the law firm of Steven L. Chung Esq., McMahon Engineering, GZA Geoenvironmentalists, HDR Engineers and Architects and law firm Manley Deas Kochalski. Law firms Brainard Partners and Walker Nell renewed their leases. Law firms Litchfield Cavo; O’Brien, Rulis and Bochicchio; Wade, Clark Mulcahy; Legal Search and R-T Specialty, a service provider for insurance agents and brokers, expanded their offices.
“Philadelphia has been a sharply growing and improving office market in the last four to five years. To enter and compete here, Accesso realized it would have to put the right amount of capital into the right improvements and they did exactly that.”
Various “spec suites” with stylish finishes were recently built out with one immediately leased to Formcraft Interiors, an architectural firm.
Wallace says 1515 Market’s location has long been a “magnet” for attorneys, legal and professional service firms.
“We have 29 law firm tenants and the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” he says. “We’re right across the street from City Hall so lawyers can easily make court appearances or have meetings with judges and city officials. Our proximity to public transportation makes it easier for clients to visit their offices.”
1515’s largest tenant, accounting for 130,000 square feet, has developed a strong relationship with the building owner. Temple University, which occupies the first five full floors and part of the ground floor, has invested $3 million in improvements to its space and another $500,000 into new classroom technology, says Bill Parshall, director of the Center City campus.
The improvements included Temple University’s Café Bookstore, operated by Barnes & Noble, located on the ground floor.
“The owner has systematically upgraded the building including the heating, air conditioning and outside lighting which is very important to us because we offer many evening classes for working adults and graduate students,” says Parshall. “Plus, we couldn’t have a better location –right at the center of Philadelphia’s transportation hub.”
More than 3,000 students take credit and non-credit courses at Temple’s Center City campus.
“We have an excellent relationship with Accesso and we’re very happy with their cooperative, proactive and responsive attitudes,” says Parshall.