Monday, January 3, 2011

Liberty Property putting in 2 Navy Yard buildings

"Liberty Property Trust will break ground this afternoon on two flex buildings at the Navy Yard Commerce Center, bringing to the Philadelphia office market a type of product that has been available only in the suburbs.

The two one-story buildings, which will total 103,137 square feet, will offer glass and precast fronts with rear loading docks. Their interiors are designed as flexible space - easily adaptable to suit each tenant's requirements.

Flex buildings are appealing to entrepreneurial companies that often need a mix of space, for instance offices and laboratories, said John Gattuso, regional director for Liberty Property Trust. They are common in California's high-tech Silicon Valley and, closer to home, along the Route 202 corridor in Chester County.

The Navy Yard buildings, valued at close to $17 million, will be adjacent to and north of the new Tasty Baking Co. facility - and part of the newest business park within the Philadelphia Navy Yard, located on its western edge. More than 522 acres of the Navy Yard have been under redevelopment the last seven years, attracting a variety of businesses - from clothing giant Urban Outfitters to a number of high-technology companies.

The two flex buildings, to be developed along with Synterra Partners, a Philadelphia business that Liberty has teamed with at the Navy Yard to meet minority enterprise requirements, constitute Liberty Property's first construction work in more than 20 months, Gattuso said. About $13 million of the financing is through a stimulus program known as Recovery Zone Facility Bonds.

"The fact that our first effort in 20 months is here does say something about the Navy Yard and Philadelphia," Gattuso said. "This is clearly a vote of confidence in this particular regional economy."

The new buildings' core and shell are expected to be completed by August. Liberty Property has signed a lease for 21 percent of the space with Fretz Kitchens, a provider of high-end kitchen products located in Northeast Philadelphia."

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