Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1616 Walnut purchased by Maryland partnership

"The iconic 1616 Walnut Street building - listed on the National Register of Historic Places - has been purchased by Federal Capital Partners of Chevy Chase, Md., which is considering converting the office space to residential use.

The sale of the 25-story Art Deco building marks FCP's second investment in Center City Philadelphia, after a $7.5 million loan it made in July to back redevelopment of the Robert Morris Building at 1701 Arch St. from offices to apartments.

The Walnut Street property, currently 90 percent leased, was acquired through a joint venture with Philadelphia-based Cross Properties and 806 Capital L.L.C., also of Philadelphia. The venture purchased the building from Isard-Greenburg Co., which owned the building for more than 30 years, for an undisclosed amount.

According to Isard-Greenburg's website, the Pew family, which founded Sun Oil Co., once maintained a penthouse suite in the building.

Tenants were notified of the ownership change last week in a written statement from FCP managing partner.

"We found out last week," said William Bradley, a certified public accountant who maintains an office on the 15th floor there. "We were told the new owner wants to build condos and wants to go residential."

FCP said in a statement it may convert the building's use to residential "over time."

1616 Walnut is situated in the heart of Center City's high-end retail, dining and shopping district and close to Rittenhouse Square. It encompasses 188,560 square feet of office space, 7,210 square feet of retail space at street level, and a 160-space parking garage, according to FCP.

Built in 1929, the building was lauded as an architectural marvel at the time and received top honors the next year at the 12th International Buildings Congress in Budapest.

Its five-story parking garage made it one of the first properties in the city to include on-site parking. It was listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 1982 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Its new owner - FCP - is a privately held real estate investment firm with interests in more than $3 billion in assets, including commercial and multifamily buildings. Besides Philadelphia, it has properties throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including Washington, Baltimore, Virginia, and North Carolina."

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