Thursday, May 27, 2010

EPA renews lease at 1650 Arch

"The regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency has renewed its big lease at 1650 Arch St. in Center City for another five years.

The agency re-upped on 304,000 square feet on floors 1 through 14 and the 16th floor at the building. The EPA first moved to the building in 1997, when it initially signed on to a 10-year deal with two five-year renewal options.

The lease is the largest completed in Center City this year and keeps a major anchor tenant at 1650 Arch, which continues to suffer from the loss of Wolf Block.

“It was a win for both parties,” said the landlord, Berhinger Harvard. The General Services Administration represented the EPA.

Wolf Block, the defunct law firm, vacated 176,000 square feet last spring and though the space remains vacant, there are a lot of tenants looking at the space, McGowan said. A major renovation is set to begin this summer regardless of the vacancy, he said.

If a big-enough tenant lands in the building, which is likely, some of the work can be customized. In all, Behringer Harvard plans to complete a five-year, $7 million interior and exterior capital improvement program. The upgrades are aimed at repositioning the building as a top-tier office structure and making it more attractive to existing and prospective tenants.

The Class B building was constructed in 1973 and sits just on the outskirts of the prime Center City office district. The 27-story, 587,800-square-foot tower had once been the headquarters for Cigna Corp. The building took a hit in the 1990s when Cigna relocated to Two Liberty, where it has its offices, and was vacant until the EPA moved in 1997, taking a chunk of the space."

Eastern University bought 19.4 acres from Valley Forge Military Academy

"Eastern University bought 19.4 acres from Valley Forge Military Academy & College for an undisclosed amount.

Both schools are adjacent to each other though Eastern is in St. Davids and the military academy in Wayne along the Main Line.

The parcel is bordered by Eagle Road, Radnor Street Road and Walnut Avenue, which is south of the military academy’s main 120-acre campus. It is currently used for parking and faculty and staff housing. As part of the deal, the two schools agreed to certain shared uses of other facilities that will allow the military academy staff living in housing on the parcel to remain in their homes.

Eastern, which has a 94-acre campus, is looking to expand its programs and facilities. In a statement, the school said that some projects under consideration include establishing an intensive, two-year arts college program for students with nonverbal learning disabilities such as Asperger syndrome. For Valley Forge, the school said the sale strengthens its financial position and bolsters its relationship with Eastern, which is something it anticipates furthering in the future."

Benten Bioservices Inks $12M Lease in Malvern

"Benten Bioservices, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deltagen Inc., leased 35,000 square feet of lab space at 335 - 395 Phoenixville Pike in Malvern, PA. The clinical research organization signed a 10-year lease, valued at more than $12 million. Occupancy is slated for December.

The 104,400-square-foot R&D building was built in 1979 in the Chester Industrial submarket. It is part of the Great Valley Corporate Center.

Benten aims to create between 50 and 80 new jobs at the facility over the next 18 to 24 months. Benten received interest from several other landlords outside of the Delaware Valley area. However, BioMed Realty Trust, the landlord at the Great Valley Corporate Center, made an aggressive effort to acquire Benten."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Update for the NY World Trade Center 2.0

Study will map out future development along Rt. 30

"The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will wrap up late next month on the first phase of a two-year study of Lancaster Avenue stretching from its borders with Philadelphia at 52nd Street in West Philadelphia out to Wayne.

The effort marks the first time the regional planning commission has examined this 11-mile swath, which covers three counties and five municipalities. The first phase was launched last July and a second phase will begin this coming July.

“This is a first and it has a lot of challenges, some of them because it is a very built-out corridor,” said David Anderson, manager of corridor planning at DVRPC. “There’s not a lot of room for expansion and it’s very historic.”

As a result, expanding Lancaster Avenue will be unlikely.

Once the second phase is complete, and after several anticipated drafts, the regional planning commission has until June 2011 to offer a series of conclusions, recommendations, priorities and plans that could reshape part of this major artery through the Main Line.

At that point, it will be up to the counties, municipalities and other stakeholders, such as SEPTA, to decide whether to implement any of those suggestions, and if so, which ones.

Four areas have been deemed as priorities: Wayne, Haverford Road, Wynnewood West and West Philadelphia.

Locals want to see Lancaster Avenue more walkable, less congested and connected by bicycling paths and networks. Drivers along Route 30 frequently face heavy traffic, signals with bad timing and intersections that befuddle. Pedestrians run risks walking along ill-defined, narrow sidewalks with dozens of curb cuts. Bicyclists have few bike lanes at their disposal and there’s little to encourage cycling along the route.

While addressing those issues, the study aims to coordinate land use and transportation and tap into existing assets, such as public transit, to find ways to improve access and roadways, promote pedestrian and bike safety, and encourage smart growth. The aim is to improve the livability of neighborhoods that dot the road with better access and less traffic so Main Line communities can flourish.

Needing a face-lift
The recession has affected the Lancaster Avenue corridor and empty storefronts are no longer unusual. Pockets of the avenue appear to have hit a wall and are struggling to regain traffic and re-establish themselves as a destination.

“There are more vacancies now on Route 30 than there ever has been in over 30 years,”

Vacancy normally runs between a tight 2 percent and 3 percent, and now it’s between 4 and 6 percent.

To many, Lancaster was thought to be somewhat insulated because of stable and high-income households flanking it.

“It was a surprise,” a broker with Equity Retail Brokers who does leasing and property management for shopping centers along Lancaster Avenue. “During the downturn in the economy, people would have said Lancaster Avenue wouldn’t have been as impacted as it was. It truly got hurt across the board.”

He believes market dynamics that emerged before the recession have come to roost. “The market ran up rents so aggressively in the late 1990s and mid-2000s that the market got ahead of itself,” he said. “As the market resets and rents come down, the expectation is the space will fill again.”

Metro Commercial Real Estate in Conshohocken, said the recession has taught retailers to be “uber efficient.” When they look at new space, they’re thinking discounts — 33 percent off, if they can get it.

“For landlords, the question is always, ‘Do I do the deal I can do today or wait for the deal I want." “Drug stores, Wawa and banks are not expanding any more. Ground-up development is dead now. Existing real estate is the immediate future. It’s no easier to go through the permit process. Retailers don’t want long-term commitments. The retailer has concerns about a developer finishing a project. And financing is not there.”

For now, much of the existing real estate Gartner talked about is still empty.

In St. David’s, a Blockbuster sits vacant and sidewalks are crumbled. In Wayne, space where Cold Stone Creamery once dished out ice cream is now filled but has faced a revolving door of tenants. In Strafford, the relocation of a Wachovia in the center where the Lancaster Farmer’s Market makes its home has had a ripple effect, causing pedestrian traffic to decline and business for a pizzeria and a nail salon has dramatically fallen off.

Some proposed redevelopments of shopping centers, though announced, haven’t happened, such as Wayne Square, where the Acme sits in St. David’s. Berwyn is also suffering, as the closed hardware store, Pearl of the East furniture and San Nicola restaurant remain empty.

And, the area between Waterloo Avenue and Route 252 is also suffering from a series of vacant storefronts that give it a depressing look.

“When vacancy lingers, you then get the broken window syndrome." But he is confident that Lancaster Avenue will rebound because so many projects are percolating. “To some extent, I do believe it will always have the cachet that it always has had and will be revived,” he said.

Along Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr, retail storefronts are dotted with “vacancy” signs on former businesses like Medley Music, Bryn Mawr Jewelers, State of Grace, Otonic, Goodman Radio and Marcella Soret. There are also “going out of business” signs at State of Grace and Personally Yours, which is liquidating its stock. Signs posted by the Bryn Mawr Business Association say, “Keep Bryn Mawr bright,” but offer a little consolation for shuttered businesses.

Solution sought
Still, for every retailer that has closed there are enduring independent businesses, including Suburban Hardware, Bryn Mawr Running Co., Milkboy Coffee, the nonprofit Bryn Mawr Film Institute and restaurants like Beijing Inn and the Grog, to name just a few.

In nearby Ardmore, retailers and local officials have been seeking a redevelopment solution since well before the recession.

“It’s not a real estate story, it’s a retail story: Why are these retailers not able to survive?”

He urged the Main Line to look to successful models like Old York Road in Jenkintown and downtowns in Haddonfield and Collingswood, N.J., where he said political leaders were aggressive about redeveloping the retail corridor.

By contrast, other towns have trouble focusing on the business part of redevelopment, he said.

“[Many] municipalities focus on aesthetics as a solution,” Gartner said. “They focus on cobblestones and goose-neck lamps. That’s not the solution.”

Opportunities abound, but development has come in fits and starts.

On one stretch of Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr, Blank Aschkenasy Properties in West Conshohocken is in the development stages for a new, Class A retail-and-office complex on two acres on what was a Verizon garage.

The development, whose plans will likely be submitted to Lower Merion Township in the next two months, would include retailers on street level and offices above.

However, with the economy still in flux and numerous vacancies along the avenue, he said the company is taking its time on the proposal.

“If the time to build it is in two to three years, that’s OK,” he said.

In Devon, the owner of Devon Lanes at 300 E. Lancaster Ave. plans to spend $2.5 million re-doing the facade of the building and is leasing up vacant space.

WP Realty, which owns Devon Village, a 75,000-square-foot strip anchored by a Whole Foods Market, will eventually expand the center by 50,000 square feet and is in the midst of lining up tenants.

The former and now vacant Anro corporate headquarters at 222 Lancaster Ave. in Devon is up for sale for $9.5 million and close to going under contract. It sits on 7.5 acres.

In Berwyn, a plan to construct housing on 13.5 acres that included Jimmy Duffy & Sons Caterers’ property at 1456 Lancaster Ave. fell through, and the property is up for sale, offering what could be another site for redevelopment.

In what could be a game changer for Paoli, Amtrak, owner of the Paoli rail yard, a 20-acre tract straddling Tredyffrin and Willistown off North Valley Road, has selected a master developer for the site.

Strategic Realty Investments, a local real estate developer, was picked to come up with a transit-oriented development plan for the property that has basically sat vacant for more than two decades. It will still take some time for anything to come to fruition. In all, the project will likely cost upwards of $500 million and take 10 to 15 years to complete."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sale of Two Local Properties

"1. 1216-1232 Wood Street, a 22,000 SF property located in center city, close to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, was the former home to Bethanna, a Christian organization that provides family services. (This was a Sale/Leaseback). Bethanna took back a Lease for a portion of the 1st floor. Sold for $1.6 million. The property was purchased by 1216-1232 Wood Street, LP who will use the property for their own offices, as well as investment purposes.

2. 3670 S. Lawrence Street, a 2 acre parcel located in the Food Distribution Center in South Philadelphia, just off Pattison Avenue near the Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park and Wachovia was sold to Stein & Silverman Family Partnership, LP, for future development. The parcel sold for $600,000."

Four Lease Transactions in Bala Cynwyd

"Brokers Insurance leased 3,888 SF of office space at Two Bala Plaza in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Brokers Insurance will be relocating to Bala Cynwyd from their current office in Jenkintown, PA. Plans to occupy their new space are set for October 2010. The building landlord is Tishman Speyer.

· Bala Child & Family Associates, LLC leased 2,800 SF of office space on the first floor at One Bala Avenue in Bala Cynwyd, PA. The practice relocated from 29 Bala Ave.

· Allegiance Bank renewed their 6,698 SF corporate office space at One Belmont Avenue in Bala Cynwyd, PA.

· Clayman Management, LLC leased 1,371 SF of office space at One Presidential Boulevard in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Clayman Management is relocating from 101 W City Ave. in Bala Cynwyd. Plans to occupy the space are set for October 2010. The building landlord is Keystone Property Group."

King of Prussia plans expansive improvement zone

"Upper Merion officials and commercial property owners are close to creating a business improvement district that would cover 1,900 acres in the King of Prussia area, instituting a special tax aimed at raising $1.1 million to fund the effort.

A hearing is scheduled for May 27 before the township’s supervisors regarding an ordinance that would establish the King of Prussia Special Improvement District. Other property owner-funded districts have been formed throughout the region and considered a success including in Center City, along City Avenue and in West Chester.

These special districts can do everything from picking up trash and directing tourists to creating signage, improving lighting and launching advertising campaigns or — as is a key goal for the proposed King of Prussia district — influencing land-use decisions to create more compelling destinations.

“We think it’s a good idea for the area,” said Bob Hart, general manager at the King of Prussia Mall. Kravco Simon, as the owner of the mall, is the largest commercial property affected by the district and tax. The mall totals 3 million square feet of retail space.

“The King of Prussia area is an outstanding location and we think working together with other private enterprises will improve the area,” Hart said.

The business community has taken the lead in establishing the improvement district and has the support of Upper Merion’s planning commission as well as its community and economic development group. The supervisors will review it next week.

“I think for an office property owner, if you have a Class A property and want to create a Class A environment, it would seem to be reasonable,” said Bruce Hartlein, vice president of leasing and development at Liberty Property Trust, of the improvement district. Liberty Property owns 1.5 million square feet in the King of Prussia area and of that, four buildings totaling 340,000 square feet would directly be affected by the improvement district.

The area is somewhat of an “anomaly,” said Rob Loeper, township manager. King of Prussia has 25,000 residents but about 50,000 people each day come to work in the area.

“That’s pretty significant,” Loeper said about the business community and commercial property owners. “That has been an entity that is out there and a big part of the community but to some extent, disenfranchised. This brings them to the table as a voice.”

The improvement district is also being viewed as an attempt to keep King of Prussia competitive. Loeper has been told by some business and property owners that King of Prussia has “lost some of its luster and that this area isn’t coming back as fast as it should. For example, they are having a harder time pitching King of Prussia.”

King of Prussia has long been defined by its robust commercial activity, network of major roadways and large swaths of concrete. While a destination, it lacks a defined gateway or cohesiveness and green areas. The improvement district would set out to address a series of issues that would enhance the area. Some of those issues include: Modernizing land use and zoning to support existing businesses and redevelopment opportunities; make physical improvements, such as streetscaping; addressing transportation issues; marketing it as a destination; and greening it up.

“The overall appearance is a major one,” said Larry Houston with Carter van Dyke Associates, a landscape architectural firm that has helped Upper Merion devise its plan.

Much of King of Prussia was developed 20 or more years ago and in some respects it is out of step with issues of today. For example, land-use issues would try to encourage more mixed-use development, where residential, retail and commercial are combined. Transportation relies too much on vehicles rather than public transit or bicycling or even walking.

Improvement districts aim to induce change over time, Houston said. They are typically operated in five-year increments and renewed at the end of the term.

“It’s amazing what cooperation can do,” he said. “They are doing things that the individual owner can’t do.”

The district would include an area roughly bounded by Dekalb Pike, North Gulph Road, South Henderson Road, and the King of Prussia Business Park area along First Avenue, Moore Road and Allendale Road. It also includes a portion of South Gulph Road near Dekalb Pike.

The district, commonly referred to as a BID, or business improvement district, would tax commercial property owners a special property assessment each year for the next five years to fund the improvement district and its activities. Those who own residential and industrial properties within the catchment area are excluded from paying the tax. The tax would be 0.00089 mils. The first year budget is estimated to be $1.1 million."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Wegmans planned for King of Prussia

"The developer of the Village at Valley Forge in King of Prussia has filed plans with Upper Merion for the construction of a new Wegmans grocery store at the property.

The 107,000-square-foot store would sit off North Warner Road and face North Gulph Road. It would be the first project to be developed on the 125-acre property and, by the time it's completed, the seventh Wegmans to locate in the Philadelphia area. Wegmans Food Markets Inc. operates stores in Cherry Hill, Collegeville, Downingtown, Mount Laurel and Warrington, and is slated to open one this summer in Malvern at the intersection of routes 202 and 29. No date has been set for the opening of the King of Prussia store.

Realen Properties and Northwestern Mutual are partnering to develop the Village at Valley Forge. The first phase of the project totaling 425,000 square feet was initially set to open last year but the recession delayed it."

Visionquest Coming to Philadelphia

"Visionquest, a national organization that helps at-risk youth and families, has signed a 10-year lease for the entire Robinson Building at 5201 Old York Road in Northeast Philadelphia.

The four-story, 57,000-square-foot medical office building is one of five buildings located at 5201 Old York Road. It was formerly used as a nursing facility built in 1988. Visionquest will take occupancy sometime in October."

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Old Navy Store to Open in Willow Grove

"Old Navy has signed for 17,757 square feet at Parkside in Willow Grove, PA. The national clothing chain is relocating from Noble Town Center in Jenkintown in June.

Located at 2545 Moreland Road, Parkside is a 106,828-square-foot retail center built in 1987 and located right outside the Willow Grove Park Mall. Old Navy will be occupying part of the former Circuit City space and joins Petco, Dick's Sporting Goods and Ethan Allen."

Doctor-run facility expands in Bucks

"When the Comprehensive Breast Care Institute of Bucks County went under last year, the ever-growing Rothman Institute, one of the region's big-name orthopedic physician groups, saw an opportunity.

It snatched up the 120,000-square-foot building and, earlier this year, opened a new orthopedic hospital just before the new health law made it practically impossible to open or expand physician-owned hospitals.

Critics say that such facilities weaken community hospitals by siphoning off the most lucrative patients and that doctors have an incentive to do more expensive procedures when they own the hospital.

Rothman leaders, though, say that they already were attracting many patients from Bucks County and New Jersey and that the newly acquired building in Bensalem will improve patient access.

"This hospital became available, and it's really perfect for our needs," said Matthew Austin, director of joint-replacement services for Rothman.

Mike West, chief executive officer of the 70-physician practice, said some studies found higher quality and patient satisfaction in physician-operated specialty hospitals.

"We felt that this was an opportunity as a physician-owned hospital to be in a position to really drive most of the decisions," he said.

The hospital is having an open house for reporters and community leaders Monday evening to show off the new facility, known officially as the Rothman Institute at Bucks County Specialty Hospital. The building, which is across from PhiladelphiaPark Race Track on Tillman Drive, was originally designed to provide holistic care for patients who needed breast care.

The Rothman practice was founded in 1970 by surgeon Richard Rothman. At 72, he still performs 600 to 700 joint replacements a year, West said. Rothman's best known location is at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, but it has opened 11 more sites, including several at hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, since West became CEO 11 years ago. The practice has been adding patients at a rate of about 27 percent a year. Volume has grown at Jefferson, even as the group's tentacles have spread farther into the suburbs.

"The patient base has continued to grow as the city matured over time and people moved back into the city," Austin said.

Half of the space in Bensalem is used by the hospital, which has 24 beds and six operating rooms. The other half of the building is office space. Rothman uses some of that, as does Holy Redeemer Hospital and Medical Center. Rothman wants more tenants.

Nueterra Healthcare of Leawood, Kan., is a partial owner and manager of the new facility. Nueterra manages physician-owned hospitals.

The specialty hospital has a one-bed urgent-care center. The facility will have at least one hospitalist - a doctor who specializes in caring for hospitalized patients - on-site at all times, West said. Rothman will transfer patients who have serious medical complications to Nazareth Hospital, where it also performs surgery. So far, that has not been necessary, Austin said. Patients who need the most complex surgery or who have other significant medical problems will still go to Jefferson for treatment.

The Rothman Institute is based on the premise that surgeons do their best work when they specialize in one type of care, such as hips and knees, or shoulders, or ankles. West and Austin said that improved the quality of care.

West said the Bucks hospital was on track to perform 2,500 surgical and pain-management procedures this year. Within three years, he expects doctors there to do 7,000 to 8,500 procedures a year.

Kenneth Braithwaite, senior vice president of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, said specialty hospitals such as the one in Bucks tended to provide higher-profit services such as orthopedic, neurological, and cardiac care. They attract patients away from full-service hospitals, which then are not able to use income from the high-paying services to subsidize money-losing care, he said.

"We are adamantly opposed to the specialty hospitals," Braithwaite said.

The health law places strict limits on expansion by physician-owned hospitals that are already open. New hospitals will not be able to participate in the Medicare program unless they have a Medicare provider number by the end of this year.

Physician Hospitals of America, a trade group, said the health bill would have a "devastating impact" on its members.

Patrick Knaus, senior vice president for strategy and business development for St. Mary Medical Center, said it was too soon to tell how his hospital, which has 26 orthopedic surgeons on staff and is about eight miles away, will be affected by the new Rothman facility. Thanks in part to an aging baby boomer population, orthopedic business at the hospital has risen 5 percent so far this year.

"Orthopedics is our fastest-growing service line over the past five years," he said.

He said he was not worrying about Rothman, which has always drawn patients from St. Mary's service area. "What we try to do is really focus on building the best program we can," he said."

Schaff & Young moving to Avenue of the Arts

"Schaff & Young, a workers’ compensation and insurance defense law firm, is relocating to the Avenue of the Arts from Arch Street. It’s an example of how tenants do migrate back to the South Broad office submarket, and eventually will buoy its occupancy.

Schaff & Young has spent the last five years in 3,652 square feet at 2133 Arch St. The firm started with three attorneys and a secretary and now has nine attorneys, three secretaries and a paralegal.

Center City was its oyster. It first started its search in the east, looking at space in Old City. Then it opened up to Walnut Street and Broad.

“We found there were a lot of choices,” Mike Schaff said. “It didn’t matter much for us where we ended up because we don’t have to be in the court or City Hall.”

It honed in on South Broad and decided to take 6,389 square feet at the PNB Building at One South Broad in a seven-year deal.

“It was really nice space,” Schaff said. “It was within our budget and kind of surprisingly so.”

Read more: Philadelphia Business Journal: Schaff & Young moving to Avenue of the Arts

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cedar Shopping Centers, RioCan buying Pa. shopping center

"Exeter JV Associates, a partnership of Ironwood Property Group Inc. of West Conshohocken and the Goldenberg Group of Blue Bell, is selling Exeter Commons for $53 million.

The buyer is a joint venture between Cedar Shopping Centers Inc. (NYSE:CDR) of Port Washington, N.Y., and RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust of Toronto, which entered into an agreement to purchase the center. (Cedar is ponying up 20 percent and RioCan 80 percent.)

The acquisition shows the continued appetite by real estate firms to buy grocery-anchored shopping centers, which are considered safe investments. Cedar and RioCan focus on buying these type of properties. Last year, Cedar and Rio Can formed a joint venture to buy $500 million worth of neighborhood centers over the next two years. Cedar currently owns 10 centers in the region, mostly in Philadelphia. Among the local properties the company controls are Riverview Plaza in Philadelphia, Swede Square in East Norriton and Academy Plaza in Philadelphia.

Exeter Commons is a 361,000-square-foot center on 37 acres outside Reading. Goldenberg and Ironwood finished constructing the center last year. It is anchored by a 171,000-square-foot Lowe's and an 82,000-square-foot Giant supermarket, both with leases extending to 2029. The property is 98 percent leased up.

The property will be delivered "free and clear" at the closing, the companies said. It is expected financing will be placed on the property at an estimated level of approximately 60 percent of the purchase price. Cedar will manage the property. Closing is expected on or before Aug. 1."

Devon Park Apartments Sells for $4.3M

"Joseph E. Palmer Inc. sold the Devon Park Apartments at 30 N. Waterloo Road in Devon, PA, to private investors for $4.3 million, or about $73,000 per unit.

The 82,711-square-foot multifamily property was built in 1974 and consists of 59 apartment units in three buildings. The complex was built on 6.2 acres in the Upper Main Line submarket."

J.G. Petrucci Co. Buys Site in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park

"J.G. Petrucci Co. (JGPCO), one of New Jersey and Pennsylvania's leading developers, acquired a portion of the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park at 2120 Spillman Drive in Bethlehem, PA, from Lehigh Valley Industrial Park Inc. for $2.3 million, or about $135,000 per acre.

The 17-acre property is of high value and well known throughout the regions' real estate professionals. It is in the Lehigh/Northampton submarket."

INETU Buys Lehigh Valley Flex for $3.2M

"Liberty Property Trust sold the 46,800-square-foot flex facility at 744 Roble Road in Allentown, PA, to INETU for $3.22 million, or $69 per square foot.

The property is located in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park. It was built in 1986 on 3.4 acres. INETU, a web hosting company, Inc. occupied this location since the 1990’s."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ametek Relocates to Southpoint Office Facility

"Ametek Inc., a manufacturer of electronic instruments and electric motors, is relocating its headquarters to Southpoint V in Berwyn, PA.

Located at 1100 Cassatt Road in the Southpoint Office Complex, the 43,480-square-foot building will be fully occupied by Ametek. The tenant is subleasing the space from SunCom Wireless through February 2013. Ametek has completed a direct deal for the space once the sublease term expires."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ferguson completes recent multi-year lease of 16,000 SF of flex / industrial space at the Howard Business Park

"Ferguson subsidiary Lyon Conklin & Co. Inc, a wholesale distributor of HVAC equipment and services to many local contractors in the Greater West Chester area and the entire East Coast, will occupy the space. Lyon Conklin was recently selected to be the new American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning distributor throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. The territory expansion is further evidence of Lyon Conklin's strength in the HVAC market.
"Ferguson realizes the tremendous value of the demographics in West Chester and Chester County, PA" said Manager of Real Estate Development for Ferguson."

South Broad vacancies rise high

"For years, South Broad Street has been a highly desirable office submarket in Center City and consistently experienced some of the lowest vacancy rates in town as tenants clamored to set up shop along the Avenue of Arts.

But no more.

The submarket has one of the highest vacancy rates —16.2 percent at the end of first quarter — in Philadelphia and is higher than the 13.7 percent overall vacancy rate of the Central Business District. At the end of last year, the vacancy was 14.3 percent. The empty space is in stark contrast to its past, when the 2.5-million-square-foot submarket had vacancies below 5 percent.

“Everything was so tight there. There wasn’t a lot of flexibility,”

Companies wanted to be close to the hubbub of the theaters, restaurants and shops. “Traditionally it has been a tight market and hard to find space,”

The return of the high vacancy rate harks back to a time 20 years ago when tenants used to veer from South Broad. Then, the submarket was all but dead as tenants abandoned older buildings for fancy new ones along West Market Street.

That’s a dynamic at work again today.

“It’s a flight to quality,” Smith said. “People who are in A-minus, B-plus buildings move up to an A building and pay the same rent. Typically, this happens to South Broad and Walnut in every recession.”

Much of the vacancy dragging down South Broad can be attributed to a single building ­— the Atlantic Building at 260 S. Broad St. The other buildings that make up the market, including the Bellevue, 230 S. Broad, 1 South Broad, and Land Title, are nearly fully occupied.

“There’s always one or two buildings that are down on their luck in the city,” said SSH Real Estate, which owns 123 S. Broad St., one of the seven main buildings that comprise the market. “Last quarter it was 1650 Arch St.”

Historically, the 21-story, 325,000-square-foot structure has been fully occupied for as long as it has been around.

The Atlantic was constructed in 1923.

“We’re competing with Market Street whereas we didn’t have to before."

Three big tenants defected from the Atlantic Building, leaving it 48 percent unoccupied over 10 floors. Klehr Harrison moved to 1835 Market St. DMJM Aviation and Family Planning Council relocated to 1700 Market.

“It will come back,” he said, noting that rents will need to be adjusted downward to entice tenants coming out of B and C class buildings. “It’s a very natural progression. Then the C buildings either adjust their rents again or change as a conversion.”

Monday, May 3, 2010

Great Valley Corporate Center signs 60,000 square feet in leases

"PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is relocating from Research Triangle, N.C., is among the leases arranged during the first quarter at the Great Valley Corporate Center in Malvern.

PhaseBio leased 15,881 square feet at 1 Great Valley Parkway. In all, 60,502 square feet of leases were signed during the quarter at the corporate center, which is owned by Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LRY). Other leases include: Mangos, an advertising firm, renewed a long-term lease for 13,023 square feet at 10 Great Valley Parkway; Performance Development Group signed a lease at 5 Great Valley Parkway for 6,257 square feet; VEECO, a nanotechnology company, signed a new lease for 3,500 square feet at 7 Great Valley Parkway; Y-Prime Technologies, a consultant to pharmaceutical companies, signed a new lease for 3,330 square feet at 7 Great Valley Parkway; Shifa Biomedical Group leased 2,983 square feet at 1 Great Valley Parkway; Cutanea Life Sciences took 3,330 square feet; and Integrated Software Solutions renewed 1,546 square feet at 5 Great Valley Parkway."

PMC Property Group Inc. Leases up 17,500 sqft at 1608 Walnut St.

"Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, a provider of early childhood educational services, leased 7,717 SF of office space, while law firms Steel Doebley & Glassman P.C., and Rudnick & Spector, P.C., leased 5,533 SF and 4,257 SF of office space, respectively.

Built in 1929, the historic 1608 Walnut St. is part of downtown Philadelphia's main retail area and theater district and features excellent access to public transportation, with the PATCO station one block away from the property and Regional Rail and the subway just three blocks away. The 220,000-SF, 19-story Class B office building features on-site property management and a staffed lobby during business hours. Approximately 48,000 SF is currently available for lease."

Publicis to be First Tenant in New LEED Bldg.

"Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, a part of the Publicis Health Communications Group, signed a long-term lease for 55,800 square feet at 1000 Floral Blvd. in Yardley, PA. The company will be the first tenant to occupy the new building.

The 87,000-square-foot, office building completed construction in October of last year in the South Campus of the Lower Makefield Corporate Center. It achieved LEED Gold certification.

Three subsidiaries of Publicis Health Communications Group will be consolidating and relocating from suburban parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, starting in July."

Citadel Federal Credit Union Buys Office Bldg. in Exton

"Citadel Federal Credit Union acquired the office building at 520 Eagleview Blvd. in Exton, PA, for $13 million, or about $155 per square foot, from Pitcairn Properties.

Located in the Eagleview Corporate Center, the three-story, 84,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1993 on 9.4 acres.

Citadel plans to move-in by mid-fourth quarter this year."

Metro Air Services Leases 39,420 SF in Folcroft

"Metro Air Services, signed a two-year lease for 39,420 square feet in the Kaiser Business Center Building A in Folcroft PA.

The 127,223-square-foot warehouse building at 519 Kaiser Drive was constructed in 1971 and sits on 9.7 acres. The building is located within the Folcroft West Business Park."