Friday, November 30, 2012

Geisinger Acquires 3 Parcels Totaling 42 Acres in Bloomsburg

Geisinger System Services acquired three parcels of vacant land that total 41.69 acres on Buckhorn Road in Bloomsburg, PA from Health Properties LP for $4 million. 

Currently the buyer has no current plans for development of this raw, undeveloped land. However, Geisinger System Services does own a building adjacent to the land, and may use the parcels for future development.

Towne Crossing Shopping Center Sells For $13.6M

The Hampshire Companies acquired the Towne Crossing Shopping Center at 2703 Mount Holly Rd. in Burlington, NJ from J.S. Hovnanian & Sons LLC for $13.55 million, or about $148 per square foot. 

Built in 1999, the 91,494-square-foot power center was 100 percent occupied at the time of sale, free and clear of debt, and strategically located in close proximity to the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 295. The anchor tenants at this net-leased asset consist of Home Depot, Target, Kohl's, Office Max, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

McNeil Leases 25,000 SF in Lancaster

McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co. leased 25,038 square feet at 1830 Colonial Village Ln in the Greenfield Corporate Center Park in Lancaster, PA. Occupancy is scheduled for March or April of 2013. 

1830 Colonial Village Lane is a two-story, 25,038-square-foot office building constructed in 1991 in the Lancaster County submarket. 

McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co. is a healthcare product manufacturer that has been providing over-the-counter medicine globally for more than 50 years. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Carter Validus REIT Acquires $65M Data Center

Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT, Inc. has acquired the 6 Sigma Center data center at 2000 Kubach Rd. in Philadelphia, PA from CSX Corporation for $65 million, or about $537 per square foot. 

The two-story, 121,000-square-foot flex property was built in 1993 on 14 acres in the Greater Northeast Industrial submarket. It was designed specifically to house data center equipment and built to stringent reliability and security standards, which allows the building to withstand potentially extreme weather conditions including hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes.

The property was fully leased at the time of sale to a large investment management company. According to John Carter, CEO of Carter Validus, the quality tenant has a long remaining lease term and significant capital investment in the property, which is expected to provide a strong rental income stream to the REIT's portfolio for years to come. 

Tampa, FL-based Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT is an investment trust specializing in mission critical real estate assets, which are those properties purpose-built to support essential operations for tenants.

CTDI Completes Successful Completion of Multi-Market Expansion

Seven large commercial real estate transactions, in multiple markets, totaling over 700,000SF in the last twelve months, were completed for the West Chester, PA firm Communications Test Design Inc. or CTDI.
CTDI, a leader in global engineering, repair, logistics and product manufacturing serving the communications industry, supports an expanding customer base with more than 5,200 employees in 50 facilities in the US and globally. Fueled by a one-stop service commitment to customers, CTDI was experiencing significant expansion and needed to enter new markets quickly with adequate space to meet their future growth. 

There were 7 transactions successfully completed consisting of 5 new leases and 2 renewals across several markets, including: Portland, Phoenix, Wichita, Atlanta and Toronto among others.” 

OCS Logistics Buys 275,000 square foot Bldg from Paris Accessories Plant

Paris Accessories recently sold the former 275,000 square foot plant to OCS Logistics, the regional third party logistics services provider for refrigerated products. The industrial facility is located in the Queen City Industrial Park on 15 acres near the Lehigh Street Exit of I-78.  

With this additional facility, OCS Logistics will operate nearly 1.1 million square feet of temperature controlled space with four distribution facilities to service their national and regional accounts. OCS chose an existing facility over new construction as part of their corporate focus upon environmental and sustainability values. They chose this urban property as part of their efforts to revitalize the City of Allentown. 

The following major modifications are being made to this older building: Raising the roof from a 16’ to a 30’ height, renovating the building using “green “ materials and guidelines, and adding refrigeration equipment. OCS anticipates an initial hiring of 50 additional employees and more job growth as the building modifications are completed. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

United Scrap Metal Acquires 112,500-SF Facility

United Scrap Metal, Inc. acquired the industrial building at 4301 Wissahickon Ave. in Philadelphia, PA from Transcor for $3,782,500, or about $34 per square foot. The new owner will occupy the building. 

The property was constructed in 1940. The building is zoned G-2 and sits on 7.2 acres with parking for 50 cars. The building is equipped with a sprinkler system, 35 loading docks, 3 drive-in bays, heavy power and has ceiling heights up to 60 feet.

Suburban rents fall with office values

Willner Properties says it's seeking tenants at $18.75/sq ft -- includes cleaning, but not electric -- for its newly acquired "Class A" 80,000 sq ft Exton Corporate Center five-story lakeside office building at 102 Pickering Way off state Route 100 at Gordon Drive, West Whiteland Township, between U.S. 30 and the Downingtown exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike/I-76.

"We are able to offer an equal if not superior product well below" the $21-to-$26/sq ft (plus electric) asking price for competing space nearby, says Craig R. Bradley, Willner vice president. Past tenants have included Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, American Executive Centers and service-company offices. The property was 80% vacant earlier this year, according to Bradley.

Willner isn't yet saying what it paid for the complex, bought from lenders via managing agent CSS after prevoius owners defaulted. But office real estate prices in the western suburbs have fallen as much as half since the mid-2000s, allowing local owners to buy properties from disappionted REITs and other institutional investors, and to cut rents for tenants, Conshohocken-based investor J. Anthony Hayden says here.

But realty agents and owners say lease values have held up better at Radnor Financial Center, Tower Bridge, and other mostly rented corporate spaces at locations that are newer or closer to Philadelphia.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kimberly Clark Facility Sold for $36.1M

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company sold the 599,500-square-foot industrial building at 1150 Commerce Blvd. in Logan Twp, NJ to MEPT (Multi-Employer Property Trust) and Bentall Kennedy LP for $36.1 million, or about $60 per square foot, in an all-cash sale. 

The class A distribution facility was built in 2009 on more than 60 acres in the 1,000-acre LogistiCenter at Logan industrial park. The building features a cross-dock configuration with full circulation, speed bays and ample loading, 32-foot clear heights, 267 trailer spots, T-5 lighting and ESFR sprinklers. The property is LEED Silver-certified and is fully occupied by Kimberly-Clark Corporation. 

"The Southern New Jersey Industrial Submarket continues to attract institutional investors focused on the location’s strategic location along the Northeast Distribution Corridor, virtually equidistant from the New York City and Washington, DC metros. 1150 Commerce Boulevard represents an unparalleled combination of best-in-class asset quality, integral logistics connectivity, and an excellent tenant story." 

Moorestown Corporate Ctr Trades for $19.9M

Keystone Property Group acquired the three-building Moorestown Corporate Center located at 224 - 232 Strawbridge Dr. in Moorestown, NJ from Mack-Cali Realty Corporation for $19.85 million, or about $89 per square foot. 

The 222,258-square-foot portfolio is currently 61 percent leased. The buildings were constructed in the mid-1980s on roughly six acres each in the North Burlington County submarket of Philadelphia.

Construction begins on $100 million student apartment building at Temple

After a false start four years ago, the Goldenberg Group has started construction on a $100 million student apartment building next to Temple University on the site of the former John Wanamaker Middle School. The 14-story residence, in the 1100 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, will add 832 beds for Temple students.

 In 2008, the Goldenberg Group, of Blue Bell, outbid others to buy the former school from the Philadelphia School District for $10.75 million. The original plan was to renovate the school into student apartments, with community space and a charter school for the Bright Hope Baptist Church, which is across the street. But the recession, combined with a change of heart about the wisdom of renovating the building, led Goldenberg to change its plan.

 At a groundbreaking Monday morning, Ken Goldenberg, founder of the company, said there were environmental issues with the shuttered middle school, such as the presence of lead paint and contamination from old transformers in the basement. Such concerns would have made leasing the building "a bit of a challenge," Goldenberg said. If the company had gone ahead with the renovation, it would have been able to add 600 beds using two-thirds of the nearly five-acre site, he said. By demolishing the school, which is more than 50 years old, and building anew, the company will be able to add more apartments using less space. The remaining land, he added, could be developed into retailing or other purposes. "We loved the old design," Goldenberg said, "but unfortunately it didn't work out." The project is the third to add much-needed housing for Temple.

The university is building a 1,000-bed dormitory on North Broad Street and Mosaic Development Partners of West Philadelphia is finishing construction of Diamond Green Apartments for an additional 350 students near the Temple University train station. Taken together, the projects will relieve pressure among Temple's rising ranks of students to find housing on or near campus, said Ken Lawrence, a senior vice president of government relations at Temple. About 10,000 Temple students live around campus, but only half of them are in dorm rooms provided by the university, he said. That has created flashpoints between students and longer-term residents, said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, whose district includes Temple. "This will alleviate some of that," Clarke said. The project is a collaboration between Goldenberg and the Bright Hope Community Development Corp., the nonprofit economic development arm of the church.

 The Rev. Kevin R. Johnson, pastor at Bright Hope, said community members had direct input into the development of the project. The nonprofit, he added, is an equity partner with a 10 percent stake. Johnson said the church will be able to use income from the project to fund other activities, such as starting a charter school. Located on the southern edge of campus, the Goldenberg building will sport flashes of Temple red and have 238 apartments for 832 people, ready by the fall of 2014. The company said rents have not yet been determined.
Full story: 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chesco to issue RFP for major renovation in Coatesville

by Natalie Kostelni

Developers will soon get an opportunity to propose ideas on a three-part project here that economic-development officials say will foster more commercial activity.
A request for proposals is scheduled to be issued by the end of the year for the renovation of the Chester County city’s existing train station, and the construction of a new one nearby with the development of a parking lot along 3rd Avenue. A streetscaping project that will attempt to enhance an otherwise forlorn part of the city is also part of the overall plan.
“One of the nice things about the process is we’re asking the development communities what they think should go on these sites,” said David N. Sciocchetti, urban development consultant at the Chester County Economic Development Council, which is overseeing the process.
Abandoned for more than 20 years, the Coatesville train station at 3rd and Fleetwood Street was built in 1865. It is one of the oldest on the Main Line. Some have said the station reflects the ups and downs experienced over the years by Coatesville. It was once a bustling steel town and the train station was an integral part of its downtown. But once steel production wound down and the train station closed, Coatesville saw residents leave to look for employment opportunities elsewhere. Bsusinesses closed up and crime rose.
The overall project has long been viewed as one of the key factors in revitalizing Coatesville and its main commercial corridor.
The station, an Amtrak stop, sits on what is called the Keystone Corridor. There is no ticketing or other services provided. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is supporting the redevelopment and enhancing of stations along the Keystone Corridor in a multiyear program that will address different stations at different times. PennDOT has had meetings in Parkesburg, Downingtown, Paoli and Ardmore about their stations.
“At this time there are no definite timelines or plans for the Parkesburg, Downingtown or Ardmore stations,” said Erin Water-Trasat, a PennDOT spokeswoman.
So far PennDOT is in the early stages with projects at Paoli, Exton, Coatesville and 30th Street. In Coatesville, $20 million in PennDOT and federal transit dollars has already been set aside for the project. Many hope that an improved Coatesville station will eventually lead to SEPTA reinstituting regional rail service to the city.
“As you can imagine, it makes a big difference,” said Don Pulver of Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corp., which developed a Marriott Courtyard in Coatesville that opened in May and is looking to construct an 80,000-square-foot office building next to it.
“The train is more important to commuters today because they go in both directions. We’ve seen that in Conshohocken in spades. The train station has blossomed and it has changed a lot in the 20 years we have been there. Now it makes a big difference.”

EisnerAmper to open in city

by Jeff Blumenthal
EisnerAmper of Jenkintown will open a Center City office and will soon decide whether to relocate all of its local operations there.
Local managing partner Jay Weinstein said EisnerAmper will be subleasing 6,500 square feet at Two Logan Square at 18th and Arch streets. It will be moving three practice groups — consulting, bankruptcy/restructuring and litigation support — into the city. Weinstein said the firm selected those groups, 25 people total, because they have referral sources and clients based in the city.
EisnerAmper’s sublease at Two Logan runs for three years, coinciding with its lease in Jenkintown, which expires in October 2015. At that point, Weinstein said the firm will choose either to re-up in Jenkintown, move to another suburban location or move its entire local operations into the city.
That process will begin in the next six to nine months, with the firm hoping to lock in a decision within the next 18 to 24 months.
Weinstein says he will solicit the opinions of staff members about the best move for the firm. He said the firm will also weigh financial considerations and look to see if any local governments are offering incentives to relocate. EisnerAmper will also factor in the opinions of its clients, though Weinstein admitted they rarely visit the firm’s offices.
EisnerAmper entered the Philadelphia market when predecessor Amper Politziner & Mattia bought Jenkintown-based Goldenberg Rosenthal, one of the region’s largest accounting firms in 2008. Amper then merged with New York-based Eisner to form EisnerAmper in 2010. It has about 150 people at 101 West Ave. in Jenkintown, where it rents more than 40,000 square feet, or more than half the building. 
Full story:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Moorestown Corporate Ctr Trades for $19.9M

Keystone Property Group acquired the three-building Moorestown Corporate Center located at 224 - 232 Strawbridge Dr. in Moorestown, NJ from Mack-Cali Realty Corporation for $19.85 million, or about $89 per square foot. 

The 222,258-square-foot portfolio is currently 61 percent leased. The buildings were constructed in the mid-1980s on roughly six acres each in the North Burlington County submarket of Philadelphia.

Harrisburg CVS Trades for $5.7M

RE Rosemont Holdings LP acquired the retail building at 550 N. Progress Ave. in Harrisburg, PA from Progress Elmerton LP for $5.7 million, or $431 per square foot. 

The building was delivered in 2010 in the Harrisburg Area East submarket of Dauphin County. It totals 13,225 square feet and is occupied by CVS Pharmacy on a triple-net lease.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hotels Breaking Negative Spiral: Survey

Orbach Grp Closes on $70M Multifamily Portfolio

The Orbach Group, a leading owner, developer and manager of multifamily properties along the East Coast, has expanded its holdings with the acquisition of two portfolios located in New York City and Pennsylvania. These newest acquisitions total 635 rental units purchased for an aggregate $70 million, averaging about $110,000 per door. 

In the first transaction, The Orbach Group purchased a six-building, 105-unit Manhattan portfolio for $30 million, or $286,000 per unit. Five of the properties are located at 929 - 971 Amsterdam Ave. between 105th and 108th in the West Side. The sixth building is located at Cathedral Parkway off Columbus Ave. Included in the sale were six retail stores leased to credit tenants including Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s Pizza and Subway. 

In a second transaction, The Orbach Group acquired 527 units across Northern Philadelphia for $40 million, or $76,000 per unit. Country Commons is a 352-unit apartment complex at 3338 Richlieu Rd. in Bensalem, and Sandy Hill Terrace is a 175-unit complex at 330 Walnut St. in Norristown. Both of these assets included Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts. 

The buyer has already begun capital improvement programs for each of the newly acquired buildings. Some of the improvements will include new elevators, upgraded lobbies and exteriors, and plans to fully renovate individual units as needed. 

"The Orbach Group acquired these multifamily portfolios because each building is well located in an area with strong demand for high-quality rental properties," said Meyer Orbach, president of The Orbach Group. "The for-sale housing market has still not recovered, placing rental units at a premium. These assets are strategic acquisitions that we expect will deliver a strong return on investment over the long term." 

The firm now owns and manages nearly 5,000 units in the Northeastern U.S. and employs nearly 100 people to ensure a quality living experience for its residents. The firm specializes in acquiring and repositioning properties in high-barrier, high-growth markets, and is actively additional properties. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Commercial buildings in King of Prussia, Limerick sold

by Natalie Kostelni
Two commercial buildings in Montgomery County have traded.
A two-story, 21,199-square-foot office/flex building at 651 Park Ave. in King of Prussia, Pa., sold for $2.3 million. The Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health bought the property from Dick Ritter, whose advertising and marketing firm, the Ritter Co., had occupied the space.

In another transaction, MVD Entertainment Group bought 203 Windsor Road in Limerick, Pa., for $1.3 million.  It had outgrown its space in Oaks, Pa., and wanted to stay within Montgomery County. It settled on the building in the Limerick Airport Business Center, which is just off Route 422. MVD Entertainment plans to move in early 2013.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Philadelphia's Select Top Office Leases for Q3 2012

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

Cozen O'Connor leased 193,136 square feet at One Liberty Place in the Market Street West submarket.

Penn Presbyterian Medical Associates leased 155,700 square feet at 3737 Market St. in the West Philadelphia submarket. 

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. leased 74,516 square feet at Chesterbrook in the King of Prussia / Wayne submarket. 

Healthcare Solutions leased 57,055 square feet at Valley Forge Corporate Center - Building I in the Norristown / Valley Forge submarket. 

My Alarm Co. leased 32,500 square feet at Ellis Preserve - Building G in Delaware County. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whole Foods says it will relocate Callowhill Street store

The Whole Foods Market next to the Barnes Foundation near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has signed a lease to relocate to an undisclosed new location near its existing store at 20th and Callowhill Streets by 2017, the company announced Wednesday.
The grocer did not disclose an address for what it described in a news release as an eventual 55,000-square-foot mixed-use development "a short distance away" on three acres.

"The exact address cannot be disclosed at this time per the developer," said Whole Foods spokeswoman Defausha Hampton in an e-mail exchange. "We did want to share the news that the store is coming and be in touch with further updates as more information is disclosed."

WFE Buys 3 Acres for $2.5M in Collegeville

Williams Form Engineering Corp. (WFE) inked a $2.5 million purchase deal on a new production and distribution facility on three acres in the Iron Bridge Business Park in Collegeville, PA. 

The three-acre parcel is located on Kestrel Dr. The seller, Gorski Engineering, is constructing a 30,000-square-foot, built-to-suit industrial building for WFE who is currently operating out of Phoenixville, PA but will relocate upon the completion of the new facility. Construction began after closing, with a projected move-in date of January 2013. 

WFE is a national product designer and manufacturer for the construction and fastener industries and provides a variety of services with specialization in anchoring technology for chemical and mechanical anchors. The company has been in business since 1937 and operates five manufacturing plants throughout North America.

2013 Economic Outlook for Real Estate Investors (Videos)

Part 1: Dr. Mark G. Dotzour
Suzanne Mulvee
Part 3: Mark Vitner 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mack-Cali leases in quarter include Vitality Foodservice, Moorestown center

CORT Business Services Corp. was among the companies to lease space in South Jersey with Mack-Cali Realty Corp. during the third quarter.
The real estate investment trust said it leased 168,747 square feet in buildings it owns in its suburban Philadelphia, South Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Maryland markets. Mack-Cali, which has a concentration of buildings in North Jersey, leased a total of 932,990 square feet of space during the quarter.
Some of the local deals include: CORT, which renewed on 46,880 square feet at 31 Twosome Drive in Moorestown, N.J.; and Vitality Foodservice Inc., a Nestlé company, which renewed on 14,700 square feet at 5 Terri Lane in Burlington Township, N.J.
A 74,555-square-foot office/flex building, located in Bromley Commons, is 100 percent leased. Riley Sales Inc., a satellite data communications company, signed an 11,970-square-foot renewal at 915 N. Lenola Road, also in Moorestown. The 52,488-square foot office/flex building, located at Moorestown West Corporate Center, is fully leased. Regus has signed eight new leases during the quarter totaling 110,242 square feet. The transactions included a 14,112-square-foot lease at 5 Sentry Park W. in Blue Bell, Pa.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Brandywine Realty Trust is set to buy the Stock Exchange Building

Brandywine Realty Trust is set to buy the Stock Exchange building at 1900 Market St. in Center City Philadelphia, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The building is in receivership and was put up for sale over the summer.
The building would certainly enhance Brandywine’s downtown presence and inch it closer to becoming Center City’s largest landlord next to Commonwealth REIT.
But hat all depends on what and how properties get tallied.
The Stock Exchange totals 456,922 square feet. Brandywine has an interest in Commerce Square across the street; the lot at 1919 Market St. where it plans a mixed-use development; One, Two and Three Logan Square; and across the Schuylkill River at Cira Centre, Cira South and the old Post Office building.

Philadelphia Insurance renews at Bala Cynwyd office complex

Bala Plaza, a four-building office complex in Bala Cywyd, Pa., has completed three lease transactions.
At One Bala, Philadelphia Insurance renewed 135,000 square feet and is expanding by 17,000 square feet. Philadelphia Insurance is the second-largest tenant in the Bala Cynwyd office submarket.
Tokio Marine North America, an affiliate of Philadelphia Insurance, signed a new lease for 28,000 square feet at Three Bala and Global Indemnity signed a lease for 50,000 square feet there. Its lease shrank from 70,000 square feet.