Thursday, September 27, 2012

Co Working - The 'Cure' For the Common Cubicle (Video)
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Chesterfield Apts Trade for $25.1M

BET Investments, Inc. acquired the Chesterfield Apartments at 1338 Veterans Hwy. in Levittown, PA for $25.05 million, or about $101,000 per unit, from Exmark Partnership. 

The 173,394-square-foot multifamily building was built in 1972 on half an acre in the Lower Bucks County submarket of Philadelphia. The 247 units are a mix of 123 one-bedroom and 124 two-bedroom units with asking rents between $795 and $1,075 per month.

West Manchester Mall Trades Hands for $17.5M

The Lightstone Group sold the 742,000-square-foot, high-vacancy West Manchester Mall to M&R Investors for $17.5 million, less than $24 per square foot. 

Located at 1800 Loucks Rd. in York, PA, West Chester Mall sits on 143 acres in the York County submarket of Philadelphia. The property was 32 percent vacant at the time of sale with nearly 240,000 square feet of space available for lease. M&R Investors plans to redevelop the property. 

The property was initially on the market a year ago, when sources estimated that the sale could attract more than $30 million, before Bon-Ton decided not to renew its lease at the mall.

Talonvest Capital Negotiates Refi for Metro Self Storage

Talonvest Capital, Inc. secured an $18.75 million refinancing on a 577,000-square-foot self-storage portfolio, the second such portfolio that Talonvest has closed on behalf of Metro Self Storage this year. 

Eric Snyder, Jim Davies and Carole Stanley arranged the financing deal on a 25-year fixed-rate, fully-amortized loan funded by ING. 

The properties included in the deal are located in six states across the Eastern seaboard and the Midwest, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. 

Snyder shared that banks, CMBS lenders and insurance companies were all very interested in this transaction and in developing a relationship with one of the nation’s premiere self storage operating companies. He added, "while CMBS lenders have become very aggressive recently, eliminating future interest rate risk through a 25-year fixed rate loan was one key factor in a life company prevailing in this competition."

Sale of 2,800 SF Flex Condo in West Chester

 A flex condo  totaling 2,800 SF and situated at the highly visible location known as 640 Snyder Avenue, Unit L, in West Chester was sold for $330,875.
Piper & Associates, LLC was the seller and the buyer was Gueriera Property Group, LLC. The Buyer of the property is a local roofing company from Delaware County who moved into the building in August.

 640 Snyder Avenue, is a flex condominium unit containing 800 SF of professional office space with a private powder room and 2,000 SF of heated and cooled warehouse with 17’ clear heights and a drive-in door. The premier condition of the building’s interior, dock area and existing finishes reflect how the Seller has immaculately maintained this condo. The property is beautifully landscaped and has an abundance of parking available for owners and their clients.  It is conveniently located in the West Chester/Westtown area just seconds from Route 202.

Sale of 8,000 SF Office Condo in Exton

An 8,000 SF office condominium  located at 125 Dowlin Forge Road, Unit #7, within the Lionville Professional Center in Lionville, PA sold for $1,620,000.
 The sellers, were EBWA Partners, L.P., a Pennsylvania Limited Partnership. The buyer, Zatlin Properties, LLC.

125 Dowlin Forge Road is an exceptionally well-located office condominium consisting of two units. The seller of the property will lease back the smaller of the two units and Applied Resources Technical Consultants, Inc. will occupy the remaining portion of the space. Features of the building include operable windows, built-in reception area, vision panels, and an open bull pen with built-in workstations.”

Lionville Professional Center is located at the corner of Eagleview Boulevard and Dowlin Forge Road close to the entrance of the Eagleview Corporate Center and Route 113. This complex is within minutes of Downingtown entrance to PA Turnpike, Route 202 and Route 100.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hershey's New Hi-Tech Chocolate Factory

The Hershey Co. this past week formally opened the world's most technologically advanced chocolate making facility - a $300 million investment in Hershey, PA. 

The new 340,000-square-foot expansion at West Hershey is less than two miles from the company's original chocolate factory opened in 1905 by Milton Hershey. 

The new facility features proprietary, state-of-the-art technology never before used in the manufacture of confectionery. The new technology was developed specifically for the plant, including highly automated, large-scale Hershey's Kisses Chocolate operations. The plant's advanced information technology systems include automated, real-time diagnostics systems to help keep operations running smoothly 24 hours a day. 

The expanded West Hershey facility is one of the company's largest capital investments and represents one of the largest construction projects in Pennsylvania in two decades. 

The plant's workforce includes about 700 employees who transitioned from the original Hershey plant on East Chocolate Ave. - the company's oldest facility, which ran continuously from 1905 until its retirement in April 2012. 

REIT 2013 Outlook Strong: Kimco CEO

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chestnut Hill Tower bought for $17M

The seller and buyer were not disclosed. There is a growing demand from local owners, as well as investors from outside the region, for apartment buildings throughout Philadelphia.
The 18-story luxury high-rise sits on just over five acres and includes 12 ground-floor retail units. The property includes a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units with monthly rents ranging from $750 to $1,500.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Philadelphia's Select Top Retail Leases for Q2 2012

The following is an account of the Philadelphia market's select top five retail lease transactions for second quarter 2012. 

The Bon-Ton renewed its lease for 158,365 square feet at Berkshire Mall in the Berks County submarket. 

Impact Thrift leased 66,485 square feet at Bucks Crossing in the Lower Bucks County submarket. 

Habitat for Humanity leased 19,296 square feet at 1053 Grape St. in the Lehigh / Northampton submarket. 

Hammonton News & Tobacco renewed its 18,800-square-foot lease at 120 S. White Horse Pike in Southern New Jersey. Equity Retail Brokers, Inc. represented the landlord.

Public Health Management Corporation leased 13,000 square feet at One & Onley Square in Northeast Philadelphia. Jeffrey Management represented the landlord.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bucks apartments to rise on ex-office site

In the latest sign the suburban office market is dead, BPG Properties' Madison Apartment Group division plans to break ground Wednesday on 232 "luxury one and two bedroom apartments," to be called Madison New Britain, 1500 Manor Drive, Chalfont, Bucks County.

The property was previously marketed as the New Britain Corporate Center in hopes of attracting office tenants. BPG, led by Dan DiLella, recently had the land rezoned for apartments, given weak suburban office demand and the fact that home purchases have dried up, leaving more tenants in search of rental homes. 

Liberty eyes new tower

by Natalie Kostelni

Liberty Property Trust is hawking a new office tower in Center City that would stand 27 stories and total around 400,000 square feet.
The building would be constructed on a narrow parking lot on the northwest corner of 19th and Arch streets that is now being used as a small surface parking lot. Cost estimates put a price tag for a building of that size around $160 million.
Liberty quietly bought the sliver of land over the summer and has been taking the plans around to Center City office brokers and prospective tenants who could potentially anchor the building and kick off its construction.
The list of downtown companies now looking for space in the office market who could take a chunk of a new building include: FMC Corp., which is seeking 250,000 square feet; Pepper Hamilton, which is looking for 250,000 square feet; Drinker Biddle, which is seeking about 200,000 square feet; and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, currently seeking 215,000 square feet.
Liberty declined comment. The company is expected to present its plans to the Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s zoning committee this month. Ed Panek, who chairs that committee, hasn’t seen the project proposal but is aware of it.
“If it’s inconsistent with the neighborhood plan, we will have a problem, but we try to work everything out,” Panek said. “We rarely go to the [Zoning Board of Adjustment.]”
A large construction project is already under way in that pocket of the city. PMC Property Group Inc. is constructing a new 14-story apartment building on the southwest corner of 19th and Arch streets. Liberty also owns a 1.5-acre site at 18th and Arch streets where a giant skyscraper called the American Commerce Center was proposed. Market speculation has Liberty saving that site to eventually construct a mixed-use complex that would have Comcast occupying a significant amount of the space.
The last time a new office tower was constructed in Center City was in 2008 when Liberty completed Comcast Center at 17th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Since then, the recession dragged down the office market and the lack of large, new companies locating or expanding in Philadelphia hampered the need for new office construction. In the last few years, however, owners of trophy towers have lowered rents to fill vacant space in their buildings and resulted in a shortage of high-end space.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Donald Trump Reveals Stocks He's Bought

Ballard Spahr LLP Renews 179,307 Square Feet at BNY Mellon Center

A lease renewal of 179,307 square feet to Ballard Spahr LLP, a national law firm, was completed at BNY Mellon Center in Philadelphia for a term in excess of 15 years The property is managed by REIT Management & Research LLC, Real Estate Services.

Built in 1990, BNY Mellon Center is a skyline-defining trophy office building in Center City Philadelphia. Crowned with a distinctive pyramid, the building is one of the most recognizable in the region. Firms such as BNY Mellon, FMC Corporation and Sunoco are headquartered at the property, which has maintained occupancy rates over 90 percent since its construction.

CommonWealth REIT is a real estate investment trust, or REIT, which primarily owns office and industrial properties located throughout the United States. As of June 30, 2012, CWH owned $7.2 billion of office and industrial properties with approximately 52.8 million square feet located in 31 states, Washington, D.C. and Australia. CWH is headquartered in Newton, Mass. Reit Management & Research LLC, Real Estate Services, also headquartered in Newton, manages more than 93 million square feet of commercial office, industrial and medical office buildings across the country.  

99,000 SF Leased in Hazleton, PA

 E.S. Kluft and Company leased of 99,000 SF of manufacturing/distribution space at 1104 North Park Drive, Hazleton, PA in the Humboldt Industrial Park.  The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

E. S. Kluft & Company, maker and distributor of Aireloom and Kluft brand mattresses, has already begun to recruit 50 new employees and expects to start production in mid October. Kluft expects to double the number of jobs during the initial term of its lease.

1104 North Park Drive is a newly constructed state-of-the-art production space that was built speculatively more than 3 years ago and had never been occupied.  Kluft selected Hazleton after the careful evaluation of several other markets.  According to Ranalli, Hazleton benefits from a top-quality labor force and an excellent location along I-81, with quick connections to I-80.

UniTek Renews in Bethlehem, PA

UniTek is located at 22 Commerce Way, Bethlehem, PA. This 14,400 SF space is located in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park IV and provides easy access to Routes 512, 22, 33, I-78 and PA Turnpike 476.
UniTek is a leading full-service provider of permanently outsourced infrastructure services, offering an end-to-end suite of technical services to the wireless and wire line telecommunications, satellite television and broadband cable industries in the United States and Canada.

Dan’s Camera City in Nazareth, PA

Dan’s Camera City in leased a second location at the Nazareth Shopping Center. Dan’s Camera City secured a retail space, that is approximately 5,000 SF, set immediately alongside Routes 33 and 248 in Lower Nazareth Township.

 With their first location in Allentown, Dan’s Camera City has earned the title of “the Lehigh Valley’s favorite photography store.” The company has considered this expansion for awhile but when the decision was made to move forward," Mike Woodland stated.

Subaru is out for 225,000sf

by Natalie Kostelni

It is searching the South Jersey market for some options, which are limited unless it’s new construction or conversion of an existing industrial building. Subaru couldn’t be reached for comment.
The company moved into its current national headquarters at 2235 W. Marlton Pike in 1986 in Cherry HIll, N.J., according to its website. The seven-story building cost $18 million to construct and totals 115,000 square feet. About 300 Subaru employees work there.
It also maintains other space in South Jersey. It has an operations center in a 59,000-square-foot building in Pennsauken, N.J., where it has about 200 employees from its customer loyalty, government relations, parts, service, financial services and other departments. It also has a regional office and warehouse in Westampton, N.J., according to its website.
The company also recently agreed to have a mega distribution center and training facility built. NFI Real Estate of Cherry Hill broke ground last month on a 526,050 square-foot building at NFI Park at Florence Crossings at 2020 Route 130 N. in Florence, N.J. It is a short distance from the New Jersey Turnpike and Pennsylvania Turnpike extension and is considered to be the largest built-to-suit development in New Jersey this year.
Subaru got some breaks for the project. It took advantage of a program called Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, which is a tax incentive provided by Florence. The building is expected to be completed by June 1, 2013. 

Dollar General Pays $12.5M for 110 Acres in Berks County

Dollar General Corporation purchased 110.86 acres of industrial development land from Berks County Industrial Development Authority for $12.5 million. Located in Berks Park 78 in Bethel, PA, the land is located directly off of Interstate 78. 

Dollar General broke ground on a 906,919-square-foot distribution facility on the same day the sale closed. All approvals were in place at the time of sale. Construction completion is scheduled for second quarter 2014.

Clark Associates Acquires Lititz Flex Bldg

Clark Associates, Inc. acquired 40 Citation Ln. in Lititz, PA from Identicard Real Estate Partnership for $3 million, or about $57 per square foot. 

The building is a 52,240-square-foot flex building with 29,000 square feet of office space. It was constructed in 1996 on 4.2 acres, and has 190 on-site parking spots. The new owner will take occupancy of the building previously occupied by Identicard.

Montgomery Ave Commons secured $6.9M in financing

Montgomery Avenue Commons secured $6.9 million in financing for the acquisition of a 10-property student housing portfolio at Temple University, financed through the refinancing of the borrower's 14-property student housing portfolio at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The financing terms of both loans were with 10-year terms and 30-year amortization schedules at an interest rate of 4.12 percent. The Loan to Value (LTV) is 75 percent. 

"Student housing loans can be labor intensive and financing a portfolio of multiple, small student housing properties and gaining the cash-out equity to acquire additional student housing was a complex undertaking."  

The two portfolios total more than 24 properties across two universities. During the underwriting, the original lender pulled out on nine of the smaller properties, A second lender stepped in to refinance those assets with fewer than five units each.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brandywine Realty Trust plans apartments with Toll Brothers

by Natalie Kostelni

The project will consist of 398 apartments on 20 acres at 134 Plymouth Road. It will offer amenities including a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, a pool and a dog park. The development will preserve 45 percent of the land as open space.
Toll and Brandywine will each own a 50 percent interest, and have joint decision-making responsibility. Toll of Horsham, Pa. will oversee property management and construction management and contribute cash. Brandywine will contribute its land parcel.
The joint venture expects to break ground the first quarter of next year.
In a statement, Brandywine of Radnor, Pa., said the transaction was consistent with it business plan of “monetizing up to 35 percent of our existing land bank over the next several years and we are on track to achieve that goal.

Rebuilding At the World Trade Center

Saturday, September 8, 2012

$560 million acquisition in storage for CubeSmart

**CubeSmart in Norristown, PA just leased an available 7,000 sf of retail space to Colortyme for five years. Joe O'Donnell of OMEGA Commercial Real Estate, Inc. represented CubeSmart and Scott Borsky of The Borsky Group, LLC represented ColorTyme. 

by Natalie Kostelni

When CubeSmart completed a $560 million acquisition of 22 storage facilities late last month, the transaction catapulted the company into the top ranks nationally in its field.
CubeSmart is now one of the leading self-storage companies in the United States. Plus, the deal gave it a valuable foothold in one of that industry’s most desirable market — New York City.
The deal with Storage Deluxe was pivotal for CubeSmart. It est ablished the company as the largest owner and operator of storage facilities in New York – one of the most coveted and lucrative markets for self-storage companies. Short on space, New Yorkers use these extra units as an extension of their homes and a place for permanent storage: whether its seasonal items, such as skis or winter clothes, or extra furniture and holiday decorations that don’t fit in an apartment.
“We are where people have a need,” said Christopher P. Marr, president and chief investment officer.
Located in about 25,000 square feet at 460 E. Swedesford Road here, CubeSmart has quietly rolled itself up into one of the four leading self-storage real estate investment trusts. It has amassed roughly $2.3 billion worth of self-storage real estate and owns or manages 520 such facilities nationwide.
The company has gotten there by executing on a strategy it devised four years ago when it relocated to southeastern Pennsylvania from Ohio.
The multipronged plan has CubeSmart on the hunt for additional acquisitions. The company wants to bolster its presence in major metropolitan areas along the East Coast, along with Texas, Chicago and select cities in Arizona, Florida and on the West Coast. As part of that plan, the company will sell properties in less desirable markets, like southern Ohio, and deploy funds from those sales to make acquisitions.
CubeSmart had its beginnings as U-Store-It, a Cleveland self-storage company. U-Store-It tapped Dean Jernigan, an industry veteran, to oversee its operations in 2006. Jernigan sought out Marr as chief financial officer for U-Store-It.
Marr and Jernigan weren’t strangers. Between 1994 and 2002, they worked together at Storage USA, a Memphis, Tenn., company Jernigan had formed. Storage USA was eventually sold to GE Capital. At the time, Marr relocated to the Philadelphia area to become CFO at Brandywine Realty Trust from 2002 and 2006. Marr left the office real estate investment trust to join Jernigan to help run U-Store-It. For two years, Marr commuted to Cleveland, helping to right the storage company, which had gone public but was in disarray.
In 2008, the company relocated U-Store-it’s corporate headquarters to Wayne, formulated the strategy it’s currently executing and began to grow. It employs 200 people locally. Jernigan remains CEO though he has announced he will retire at the end of next year. Marr serves as CubeSmart’s president, CIO and chief operator officer.
Last September, the company changed its name to CubeSmart as a way to distinguish it from the competition.

BPG Puts Collegeville IMS Buildings Up For Sale

by Natalie Kostelni

Two office buildings anchored by IMS Health Inc. in the Providence Corporate Center here have been put up for sale by BPG Properties Ltd.
The buildings, which combined have a total of 183,363 square feet, could sell for around $40 million, or more than $200 a square foot, according to one estimate.
BPG Properties constructed Highview I and Highview II in 2003 for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Highview I at 400 Campus Drive totals 78,546 square feet and Highview II at 200 Campus Drive totals 104,799 square feet.
They are located on Route 29 just off of Route 422 and across the street from Providence Town Center, a retail development that includes a Wegmans, Movie Tavern and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The buildings were developed with one of BPG’s early funds. BPG Properties, a private real estate company in Philadelphia, has decided to sell the buildings as part of disposing of assets when it closes out a fund and the investment period has run its course, Vesey said.
When Pfizer bought Wyeth, the pharmaceutical company decided in 2009 it no longer needed the space and that opened the way for IMS Health to make it an option when it was searching for new office space. IMS Health, based in Parsippany, N.J., provides business and information-technology services to pharmaceutical and health-care companies.
In 2010, IMS Health decided to relocate from 212,000 square feet at 660 W. Germantown Pike in Plymouth Meeting and consolidate more than 1,000 employees into about 160,000 square feet of the Highview buildings. The remainder of the space, about 23,000 square feet, is vacant.
IMS signed a lease that runs through September 2022. The move was big. IMS had made its regional headquarters in Plymouth Meeting since the late 1980s.
Earlier this year it sold the building it owned on Germantown Pike to Brandywine Realty Trust.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Shift to Real Assets (Video)

Airport Commerce Center Office Condos Sell

AtlantiCare purchased 24 office condo units at 6550 Delilah Rd. in Egg Harbor Township, NJ from Bellevue Properties Group LLC for $7.31 million, or about $167 per square foot. 

The 104,000-square-foot office building was constructed in 1991 with a complete renovation in 2006. It is in the Southern New Jersey submarket of Philadelphia. 

Park City Apts Trade for $22.7M

AIG sold the Park City Apartments, formerly known as Crossing at Mill Creek, located at 2000 Swarr Run Rd. in Lancaster, PA, to The Westover Companies for $22.65 million, or about $67,000 per unit. 

Park City Apartments consists of nine buildings containing 100 one-bedroom, 186 two-bedroom, and 52 three-bedroom units in garden-style setting. The units are individually metered with some amenities as balcony/patio, ceiling fans, granite countertops, microware, wall-to-wall carpeting and some have a washer/dryer. The multifamily community features laundry facilities, pet play areas, pool and a playground.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cheesecake Factory adding another restaurant NJ

Cheesecake Factory will open its eighth New Jersey restaurant, this time at the Quaker Bridge Mall.
The 8,600-square-foot restaurant will have seating for 293 customers, create 268 jobs and open Sept. 19.
Cheesecake Factory Inc. has 173 restaurants, including 158 under the flagship name, 14 trading as Grand Lux Cafe and one RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen.
In this area, there are Cheesecake Factory restaurants in King of Prussia and Willow Grove, Pa., as well as Cherry Hill, N.J. There is also a Grand Lux Cafe in Cherry Hill.
Quaker Bridge Mall, which is in Lawrence, Mercer County, is owned by Simon Property Group 

660 West Germantown Pike to get major rehab

by Natalie Kostelni

Brandywine Realty Trust is investing $18.8 million in a building it bought earlier this year at 660 W. Germantown Pike.
Brandywine paid $9.1 million for the 154,392-square-foot property. It purchased the property from IMS Health, which had relocated, vacating the structure.
The extensive renovations include updating the lobby, building systems, chillers, roof and creating a cafeteria. The building was originally constructed in the 1980s for a single tenant.
“It’s a well-designed building and obviously a great location and the investment we’re making is to reintroduce that product to the market with a full-blown tenant amenity package and as state-of-the-art,” said Jerry Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine.
Brandywine already is a dominant landlord in Plymouth Meeting with buildings such as 401 Plymouth Road, Plymouth Meeting Executive and the Metroplex. By having a large footprint in that office submarket, Brandywine is well-positioned to capture tenants that are being squeezed out of other neighboring locations.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dollar General, PetSmart buy acres in Berks Co.

Dollar General Corp. and PetSmart Inc. bought 197 acres in separate transactions at Berks Park 78 where the two plan to construct distribution facilities that will employ upwards of 1,000 people. The total price for the land, which is off Exit 13 of Interstate 78 in Bethel, Berks County, was $22.2 million. 
The Berks County Industrial Development Authority assembled 323 acres to create Berks Park 78 and attract users of large distribution centers. Dollar General bought 109 acres for $12.5 million and will construct a 906,919-square-foot regional distribution center. It is scheduled to open in 2014 and employ roughly 500 people. 
PetSmart bought 88 acres for $9.7 million. It will construct an 870,000-square-foot distribution center that can be expanded by 200,800 square feet. The facility also will open in 2014 and employ 500 people. Bill Wolf, Tyson Vallenari and Blake Rasmussen of CBRE brokered the sale for PetSmart.
Two additional land parcels, which can accommodate 712,500 and 150,000 square feet, remain available at Berks Park 78 for build-to-suit sale/lease, individual sale or as a package. The park offers a 10-year Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance tax abatement.