Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Triple Net-Leased CVS Sells for $3.5M

"Brierwood Company sold the fully occupied, triple net-leased retail building located at 8525-8545 Frankford Ave. in Philadelphia to Goodman Properties for $3,525,000, or about $348 per square foot.

The single-story, 10,125-square-foot retail building is fully occupied by CVS Pharmacy. CVS has over nine years left on the lease term."

Hoover Development Sells Walgreens Bldg for $6.8M

"Hoover Development LLC sold the retail building located at 1001 N. Berlin Rd. in Lindenwold, NJ for $6.84 million, or about $472 per square foot. The NNN-leased, fully occupied Walgreens was sold to a NY-based investor.

The retail building was delivered in 2010. It totals 14,485 square feet and sits on 1.14 acres in the South Camden County submarket. The original lease term was for 25 years with 50 one-year options."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Philadelphia-based Five Below plans to open 50 stores this year

"Retailer Five Below will open three stores this week, targeting suburban Baltimore and North Carolina.

A new store is planned in Catonsville, Md., while a Severna Park, Md., location will reopen after renovations and expansion.

A store in Wilson, N.C., is also planned.

All three stores will open Friday.

Philadelphia-based Five Below plans to open 50 stores this year. At present, it has 141 stores in 13 states. Growth is being financed by an investment by a private equity firm, Boston-based Advent International.

Five Below sells a range of products in the $1 to $5 range, including DVDs, art-and-school supplies and fashion accessories."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Former AAA Building Sells for $8.3M

"PMC Property Group acquired a six-story office building in Philadelphia, PA from NRFC 2040 Market LP for $8.3 million, or about $52 per square foot.

The former AAA building at 2040 Market Street was marketed for just eight weeks prior to closing. It totals 155,787 square feet. The new owner has plans to redevelop the property into residential and retail space."

136,542 SF Lancaster Industrial Sells for $3.7M

"Pet Food Experts, Inc., headquartered in Cumberland, RI, purchased the property located at 180 Greenfield Road in Lancaster, PA for $3.7 million, or $27 per square foot, from Union National Community Bank in an REO Sale.

The property includes three buildings that total 136,542 square feet. Two of the smaller buildings are leased, while Pet Food Experts, Inc. will move into the largest of the buildings while expanding its distribution in the Pennsylvania area. This property offers 29 loading docks, four drive-in doors, 27-foot ceiling heights, cooler/freezer space, and rail potential located on over 21 acres of land."

J&B Software Inks 31,000-SF Deal in Blue Bell

"J&B Software, a leader in the payment processing industry, downsized from 44,000 square feet to 31,168 square feet, and renewed at its current location at 510 East Township Line Road in Blue Bell, PA.

The two-story building totals 87,000 square feet in the Blue Bell Plaza, located in Montgomery County. Delivered in 1965 with renovations in 1999, the property sits on 8.25 acres."

Seven Firms Lease More Than 17,500 Square Feet at Meadows Office Complex

485-489 Devon Park Drive, Wayne, PA:

Two lease expansions, four renewals and negotiated one new lease agreement totaling 17,500 square feet of space within The Meadows Office Complex were arranged.

The combined aggregate rental of the leases exceeds $1,300,000, Lieberman said. In the largest of the renewal transactions, Renaissance Medical Management Company renewed their lease agreement for 6,497 square feet. Weidenhammer Systems Corporation, Vicki Hook, and Hilda Daniel renewed their leases for a total of 4,418 square feet.

Integrity Food Marketing, Inc., a wholesale grocery company, who originally moved into The Meadows in 2009, expanded their current space from 2,873 to 4,495 square feet. Majestic Wine & Spirits U.S.A., LLC, a company involved in the wholesale distribution of wines and spirits to retail licensees located in the State of New Jersey and to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, increased their office space from 1,984 square feet to 3,515 square feet.

Establishing a new office of 1,640 square feet in Building 487 is gloPlug Limited. GloPlug Limited was founded in 2007 and is a leading Canadian company serving the data centre management and transformation services needs of the technology market space.

The Meadows is a 105,000 square foot, three building office development set in a lush campus environment. The complex is strategically situated on the Devon Park Drive exit of Route 202 near King of Prussia. The single story Meadows features individual private entrances adjacent to abundant parking, enhancing corporate identity and ease of access for tenants and their clients."

Ground broken in Chesco for Rt. 29-Turnpike interchange

"After more than a decade on the drawing board, an all-electronic interchange linking the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route 29 in Chester County moved closer to reality this morning.

A groundbreaking ceremony in East Whiteland Township for the $48 million project - funded through toll revenues - attracted about a dozen state and local politicians as well as turnpike officials.

The junction, midway between the Downingtown and Valley Forge interchanges, will give commuters easier access to the corporate parks in and around Great Valley. The project is expected to open in the fall of 2012.

"This project is an example of government agencies responding to the needs of local residents," said Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello.

Turnpike officials said 45,000 to 50,000 motorists travel the 14-mile stretch between Downingtown and Valley Forge each day. They said the project should alleviate congestion on the turnpike as well as stretches of Routes 29 and 401.

"This project is an example of government agencies responding to the needs of local residents," said Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello.

Access to the interchange will require an E-Z pass account, which can be obtained online at or by calling 1-877-736-6727. Turnpike officials said two-thirds of its customers are E-ZPass users."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

King of Prussia advances business improvement district

"A fledgling King of Prussia Business Improvement District has begun to make progress on its mission.

Since being ratified last July, a board has been established, executive director hired and five areas pinpointed for improvement. That all came after nearly three years of exploring the idea of forming an improvement district and getting the business community to buy into the idea that King of Prussia — a major destination for the region — could benefit from such an organization.

“Things take a while,” said Richard Kubach, who helped spearhead the effort and serves as chairman of the business district’s board. “It’s an opportunity for businesses to speak with a common voice on issues that are important and on issues that aren’t represented through a chamber.”

Other area improvement districts are in Ardmore, along City Avenue, Center City, Jenkintown and West Chester. The districts supplement services provided by local governments with capital improvements, maintenance, streetscaping, business promotion and special events. In King of Prussia, the business improvement district covers 1,900 acres. A special tax on commercial property owners will annually raise about $1 million to fund the effort.

While the district was initiated by the business community, it was supported by Upper Merion officials. Eric Goldstein, who once oversaw the University City District, was hired in January as its new executive director.

Kubach has been an owner of the Best Western at the intersection of Route 202 and South Gulph Road since 1973, having watched King of Prussia progress into a bustling area with the East Coast’s largest mall and the headquarters of many companies.

Kubach has seen how increasingly the area suffers from traffic congestion, tax policies that have prompted some companies to locate their headquarters a little ways down the road in Tredyffrin instead of Upper Merion, and, among other issues, a lack of landscaping and other improvements that could soften acres of concrete and asphalt that greet visitors.

The district will focus on five areas.

Physical Improvements — There are certain gateways, such as at Route 202 and South Gulph and Route 202 and Henderson Road, that lend themselves to signaling that someone has arrived in King of Prussia. A request for proposals has been sent out for gateway signs and streetscaping and landscaping certain areas will follow, Goldstein said.

Transportation — A study is under way to delve into extending the Norristown Highspeed line that would transport people to the mall, the industrial and commercial areas and Port Kennedy.

“We’ve benefited from the improvements of Route 202 but as a result of that work, we have tie-ups on Route 202, problems on South Gulph Road,” Kubach said. “An extension would help move employees.”

Marketing and Communication — Three core areas, retail, business and hospitality/tourism will be marketed, Goldstein said. Already a regional study has been conducted that gives a snapshot of King of Prussia that will help shape marketing and advertising campaigns. In addition, the improvement district has issued an RFP for a consumer and B2B market study.

Taxation — While King of Prussia already has a concentration of companies, “we want to make sure we’re high on the relocation list,” Goldstein said. “There are tax policies involved in that and business decisions that companies are making and some of them are taxation. We know it’s a major issue and it’s something we want to get around.”

Gardner Denver Inc. is apparently one company that decided to move its headquarters to Chesterbrook Corporate Center rather than King of Prussia because of the impact of its gross receipts tax, which was begun to tax the mall but potentially affects any business in town, according to people familiar with the situation.

Land use and zoning — The group will evaluate the land-use policies that have shaped King of Prussia and recommend ways to revise them."

192-Unit Philadelphia Apartment Trades for $15.5M

"The Orbach Group has acquired the Hamilton Court East apartments in Bensalem, PA for $15.5 million, or roughly $80,700 per unit.

Hamilton Court East consists of 15 two-story buildings located at 3455 Street Rd. The 192-unit property is comprised of juniors, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units with rents ranging from $795 to $1,145.

Eighty-five percent of the units have already completed gut renovations, and all 167 have been completely leased. The upgraded units feature new windows and doors, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops in the kitchen, and new carpets and lighting fixtures. The remaining 25 units will undergo similar renovations next month. Capital improvements were also made to the common areas, roof, laundry room, parking lots and HVAC systems.

"Hamilton Court East is a perfect fit with The Orbach Group’s Pennsylvania’s portfolio," said Meyer Orbach, the firm’s president. "Like our other properties, Hamilton Court East is ideally located and provides a great combination of shared and unit specific amenities that provide a highly desirable and luxurious residence at rental prices that are among the most competitive in Southeastern Pennsylvania."

The property is located in Bucks County off the Turnpike, minutes from I-95 and US Route 1 and a short drive to Center City and all that downtown Philadelphia has to offer. This is the newest acquisition for the New Jersey-based owner, developer and manager of over 3,500 rental units in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Slew of big leases signed in suburbs

by Natalie Kostelni
"While it’s a tad too soon to see the immediate effect of a scarcity of big blocks, it will eventually mean rents going up and large tenants scrambling to lock into space. A handful of companies are scouring the suburban office market for large blocks of office space.

For example, Certainteed Corp. and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are each out roaming around for 200,000 square feet, Universal Health Services is expected to soon begin a search for a 150,000-square-foot headquarters, and Travelers Insurance is exploring relocating 60,000 square feet of back-office operations to King of Prussia, among others.

“It’s the tail-end of a tenant’s market,” said a broker with CB. “I think the market will begin to tighten by the end of the year.”

That is when he anticipates rents to start inching up. Already, concessions, from free rent to extra tenant improvement dollars, have started to be eliminated from deals. While new construction is likely way off, according to Dagit, the dwindling supply of large blocks may spur the redevelopment of some tired, old buildings.

Recent transactions sewn up include:

Brokerage Concepts took roughly 60,000 square feet off Union Meeting Road at Arborcrest Corporate Campus in Blue Bell;

Universal Health grabbed a 40,000-square-foot sublease off former First Niagara space at 170 Warner Road in King of Prussia;

PJM Interconnection wrapped up a 15-year lease and will expand into roughly 105,861 square feet at 2750 Monroe Blvd. in Valley Forge, where Quest Diagnostics had been located;

Quest Diagnostics relocated into 136,000 square feet at 1001 Adams Ave. in Valley Forge;

Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed onto 79,764 square feet at 2100 Renaissance Blvd. in King of Prussia; and

First Niagara took out a 10-year lease on 63,000 square feet at 401 Plymouth Road in Plymouth Meeting for a regional headquarters.

“There aren’t many large blocks of space and those that are available are all being absorbed,” said an office broker. “The buildings that are doing well are the newer buildings or buildings in which a lot of capital has been spent. We’re definitely seeing a flight to quality. The properties that are having a tough time are commodity buildings — those buildings built in the early- to mid-1980s that landlords haven’t put money back into.”

Dull buildings that have old lobbies, bathrooms and no distinguishing factors have suffered and tenants who land in them are basing it just on cost. Other tenants have seized on a down market in which rents on buildings that are newer or have undergone extensive renovations are lower and they can afford to be in a nicer office.

“People want to be in a nicer building and are excited to be in there,” he said. “Do you want to drive the 3-year-old GMC off a lease or a new Lexus?”

In the case of First Niagra, the bank was seeking to consolidate five offices into one. It launched its search last fall and looked at spaces convenient to its employees working from outposts including Towamencin, Harleysville, Maple Glen, Broomall and Blue Bell, said Bob Kane, regional president at First Niagara. It zeroed in on Plymouth Meeting because of its access to major arteries and ability to get exterior signage on the building.

“It’s a pretty big deal for us,” Kane said. “It shows commitment.”

The bank will start out with 180 people in the space and seek to add 65 more employees.

While the spate of deals are an encouraging sign for the suburban office market, it is climbing out of a 19.1 percent vacancy rate, according to year-end data."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Apex at Kutztown Sells for $30M

"Apex At Kutztown LP sold the 184-unit student housing facility near Kutztown University to BET Investments, Inc. for $29.95 million, or roughly $162,772 per unit.

Apex at Kutztown, located at 2200 Lifestyle Ln. in Kutztown, PA, was constructed in 2008 on 22.6 acres in Berks County. The dormitory features 184 units with 552 beds. Average room size is 944 square feet. The site was 100 percent occupied, and closed with a capitalization rate of 7.2%."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Signature Investment Realty Pays $5.9M for Philadelphia Apartment

"Signature Investment Realty, Inc., a Philadelphia, PA-based property investment firm, acquired the four-story Sydenham Commons in Philadelphia from Sydenham Commons LLC for $5.85 million, or $216,667 per unit.

Students from Temple University primarily use the apartment building as a student dormitory. The building delivered in 2005 at 1706 - 1722 N. Sydenham St. in Philadelphia. It totals 36,540 square feet."

Bambi Day Care Buys 256 Geiger Road, Philadelphia, PA

"Bambi Day Care purchaes 256 Geiger Road, Philadelphia, PA to. The seller was David Twersky.

256 Geiger Road is a modern, one story, free-standing 12,000 square foot industrial building situated on 1.276 acres. The building is fully air-conditioned with 3,000 square feet of preexisting office space, 17'4" ceiling height, one row of columns, 1 tailgate and 1 drive-in door. The space came available after Licht relocated long term tenant, R & S Northeast, to accommodate their need to expand operations from 12,000 to 33,000 square feet nearby within 10049 Sandmayer Lane.

The subject building represents an additional business venture for Bambi Day Care as they seek to serve their ever growing constituency for pre-school education and day care needs for local families. 256 Geiger will work in tandem with Bambi's current operation at 500 Red Lion Road.

The subject building is located in the same park as their current operation simplifying their efforts to serve the families located in Northeast Philadelphia, Eastern Montgomery County and Lower Bucks County as situated in very close proximity to US Route 1, I-95, the PA Turnpike and Routes 63 and 532."

Applied Industrial Technologies Closes on 2 Transactions in Allentown

"Applied Industrial closes 2 transactions for Applied Industrial Technologies in Allentown, PA. In an effort to assist this company with their consolidation move, Applied Industrial sold 884 Marcon Blvd., Allentown, PA to Julabo East. They will be relocating into this 11,000 sq. ft. building once it has been rennovated to suit their requirements. Applied Industrial Technologies is relocating into 3000 Emrick Blvd. for their 4,500 sq. ft. rental unit just off of I-78. The approximate value of these two transactions is $800,000.00"

Seminole Wire & Cable Leases 31,600 SF of Industrial Space in Pennsauken, NJ

"Seminole Wire & Cable, a family owned and operated wire and cable manufacturer, recently concluded a 31,600 SF lease of warehouse/assembly space.

Seminole will be relocating from a smaller building in Blackwood, New Jersey. Michael Genzel, a Principal at Seminole, stated that the building was well located for their employees, vendors and customers and ideal for their needs.

The property, located in Airport Industrial Park at 7861 Airport Highway in Pennsauken, NJ, features 28,000 SF of warehouse space and more than 3,000 SF of office space. The building has a 1200 amp electric service, is fully air conditioned, and has tailgate and drive in loading doors."

First Niagara to consolidate offices in Plymouth Meeting

"First Niagara Financial Group Inc., which entered the Philadelphia market last April through the purchase of Harleysville National Corp., said Monday it would consolidate local corporate operations in Plymouth Meeting from five scattered sites.

The move is part of First Niagara's expansion efforts in the region because the new location near the intersection of Interstates 76 and 476 provides relatively easy access to Philadelphia and South Jersey, said Bob Kane, the bank's eastern Pennsylvania regional president.

"This is probably the most dynamic region of the all the regions we're involved in," Kane said. First Niagara is based in Buffalo and has 81 branches in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties, from Monroe County, north of Allentown, to Chester County. In all, the bank has 256 branches and $21 billion in assets.

First Niagara also said that late last month in a separate move it had opened an office at 2001 Market St. in Philadelphia, where 25 to 30 commercial bankers will work. Since September, First Niagara has hired five corporate lenders who formerly worked at Wilmington Trust, First Savings Bank of Perkasie, and M&T Bank, Kane said.

The consolidation of 180 people into 63,000 square feet of office space at 401 Plymouth Meeting Road will be completed by June 30, Kane said. "We'll have enough growth there for another 65 slots," he said.

The operations being moved include an insurance brokerage in Broomall and wealth management from Towamencin. The affected operations in Harleysville include commercial lending, credit approval, real estate, human resources, Kane said. Only a few corporate employees in technology and operations will remain in Harleysville, where Harleysville National was based.

Kane said First Niagara plans to get bigger in eastern Pennsylvania, either by building new branches or by making an acquisition. "We are looking at both alternatives," he said."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Court says yes to Montco casino resort

"A Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling paves the way for gambling to be added at the Valley Forge Convention Center, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The ruling upheld an earlier decision by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that had been appealed by the owner of Parx Casino in Bensalem, Greenwood Gaming, the Inquirer said, adding, "A rival gambling hall at the Valley Forge Convention Center poses new competition less than 25 miles away." It would be the Philadelphia area's fifth casino would operate under a casino resort license."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

PSI Group Renews in Bucks County Business Park

"Pitney Bowes Presort Services renewed its 104,074-square-foot warehouse lease at 2251 Cabot Blvd. West in Langhorne, PA.

The industrial building is located in Bucks County Business Park. The property sits on over five acres, and was built in 1981. PSI Group, Inc. will continue being the sole occupant of the property."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sam Zell's View: Commercial Realty

Video (6:12m)

Sam Zell, chairman Equity Investments, says the supply of commercial realty is low, and he doesn't expect to add any new commercial real estate projects in next few years.

Building Materials Distributor Inks Long Term Lease in Delanco

"Boise Cascade Building Materials Distribution LLC, a distributor of wood products and building materials headquartered in Boise, Idaho, signed a long-term lease deal for 307,000 square feet at 2700 Burlington Ave. in Delanco, NJ.

The two-building industrial park includes a 253,311-square-foot warehouse and an additional 50,209-square-foot building that includes both office and warehouse space. The property sits on more than 47 acres with operational rail service in the Burlington Industrial submarket of Delanco Twp. "