Friday, September 27, 2013

Lowe Enterprises Lands $40M Bridge Loan for Condo Conversion

A pension fund client of Los Angeles-based real estate investment manager Lowe Enterprises Investors secured a $40 million bridge loan for the Abitare Apartments, a 353-unit, nine-building multifamily development in Voorhees, N.J.

Built in 2009, the community is located at 10000 Towncenter Boulevard in the Voorhees Town Center, a 732,000-square-foot mixed-use development that includes an enclosed mall anchored by Macy’s and Boscov’s.

The three-year, floating rate loan with Capital One Bank will be used to retire existing financing, buy out a ground lease, and finish converting previously planned condominium units at the property into rental units.

A team from HFF team represented Lowe Enterprises and its client in securing the financing. HFF Managing Director Jim Cadranell and Associate Director Michael Lachs handled the transaction.

Earlier this month, Lowe Enterprises named Woodmont Properties to serve as the property, development and construction manager for its Abitare Apartments.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ivy Ridge Apts Trade for $25.7M

The Solomon Organization LLC acquired the Ivy Ridge Apartments at 589 Yale St. in Harrisburg, PA from Triple Crown Corporation for $25.71 million, or about $118,000 per unit. 

The three-story, 179,328-square-foot, 218-unit multifamily building was built in 2013 and is located in Dauphin County. It is comprised of 192 two-bedroom apartments and 26 two-bedroom townhomes, and was fully occupied at the time of sale.

Altran NA Inks 30,000 SF Office Lease in Interchange 7

Altran North America has signed a lease for 30,000 square feet at One Advantage Court in Bordentown, NJ. The company will be consolidating two offices, and using the new space as its central headquarters. 

One Advantage Ct. is a 39,938-square-foot office building. A within the 226,000-square-foot Interchange 7 Business Park, located in the heart of New Jersey Turnpike Corridor industrial market on 35 acres. The park offers office and warehouse/distribution space, owned and managed by Equus Capital Partners.

LeFrak, Witkoff, Yearley on Real Estate (Video)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BET Investments buys Granite Run Mall for $24M

Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer 

BET Investments, the real estate investment group owned by Toll Bros. cofounder Bruce E. Toll, plans "a walkable mixed-use project" at what is now Granite Run Mall after the firm's successful bid of $24 million for the shopping center near Media.
"We are very excited about the deal and its possibilities," said Michael Markman, president of BET Investments, in Horsham.

New York-based Rockwood Realty Advisors conducted the sale.
Banks represented by CW Capital Management foreclosed on Granite Run in 2011 after national mall owner Simon Property Group and partner Macerich Co. stopped paying interest on $115 million they had borrowed to buy the place, figuring it wasn't worth that much anymore.

Before it went to auction, CW tried hiring Washington-based mall manager Madison Marquette, which ran the much-smaller Glen Eagle center on U.S. 202 in Chadds Ford, to recruit "high-end tenants" to add to Sears, Boscov's, JCPenney, Kohl's, an AMC theater, an Acme Market, and the smaller stores at Granite Run.
The mall is now 85 percent occupied, according to Markman.

Plans to build more than one million square feet of commercial and housing space at the former Franklin Mint site further north on Route 1 have sparked some opposition from residents and are on hold pending the outcome of a legal dispute between that site's would-be developers.

BET is one of a number of developers exploiting depressed suburban commercial real estate prices to bet on a revival.
The 2008 recession all but stopped office and retail construction in the surrounding counties, though apartment construction has revived.
In the last two years, BET has purchased a series of apartment and retail properties in the Philadelphia suburbs. Last week, the firm said it paid $4.68 million for the former Waterloo Gardens nursery in Exton, Chester County, and promised, as at Granite Run, a "mix of uses."

The Granite Run Mall near Media is 85 percent occupied. Key tenants are:
Acme Markets
AMC Theaters

Friday, September 20, 2013

Blatstein puts Tower Place up for sale

by Natalie Kostelni-Staff Writer, Philadelphia Business Journal 

Less than a year after Bart Blatstein completed a roughly $70 million conversion of a former state office building at Broad and Callowhill streets in Philadelphia, he has put the property up for sale.
“I have received lot of inquires and the market is very strong,” Blatstein said. “It’s a great product.”
Blatstein’s Tower Investments Inc. converted the 300,000-square-foot office building that was constructed in 1958 into 204 apartments with a fitness facility, and a lounge area on the 18th floor that was once used as the governor’s office.
The structure was totally gutted and the project completed in 11 months. H2L2 was the architect and the building was designated historical, allowing the developer to get tax credits to help offset some of the construction costs. It’s called Tower Place and opened at the beginning of the year. It is about 75 percent occupied.

Lannett puts building under agreement

by Natalie Kostelni-Staff Writer, Philadelphia Business Journal

Lannett Co. has put under agreement a 196,000-square-foot building in Northeast Philadelphia that it plans to eventually use to consolidate some existing facilities and give the company room for future expansion, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.
The building is 11501 Roosevelt Blvd., according to sources familiar with the situation. It was vacated by Internal Revenue Service.
The pharmaceutical manufacturer entered into an agreement in August to buy the building for $5 million and has a 90-day due diligence period, which allows it to terminate the deal if it finds its inspection unacceptable, according to the SEC document.
Lannett owns three other nearby properties including: a 31,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on 3.5 acres at 9000 State Road; a 63,000-square-foot property on 3 acres at 9001 Torresdale Ave.; and a 66,000-square-foot structure on 7.3 acres at 13200 Townsend Road.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Federal Realty CEO: Increased lease rates 22% in Q2 (Video)

NuPathe Takes 21,000 SF in Malvern

NuPathe, Inc., a neuroscience drug development company, leased 21,266 square feet in the office building at 7 Great Valley Pky in Malvern, PA. 

The three-story, 61,108-square-foot office building delivered in 1985, part of the Great Valley Corporate Center in the Exton / Whitelands submarket of Philadelphia.

Firebird Presort Signs 53,000-SF Lease

Firebird Presort LLC has inked a multi-year lease to occupy 52,543 square feet of industrial space at 400 Highland Dr. in Westampton, NJ. 

The 68,660-square-foot flex building was constructed in 1989 within the Highlands Business Park in Burlington County. Building amenities include six loading docks, two drive-in bays and 22-foot ceilings.

Alliance HSP Sold 88,000 SF

American Realty Capital Global Trust, Inc. acquired the Fort Washington Office Park at 1005 Virginia Dr. in Fort Washington, PA from Alliance HSP Ewing Office LLC for $13.4 million, or about $152 per square foot. 

The two-story, 88,000-square-foot office property was built in 1965 in the Ft Washington / Spring House submarket of Montgomery County. The asset is fully leased to Kulicke & Soffa Industries on a triple-net lease through 2023. 

The buyer funded the acquisition with proceeds from its ongoing public offering.

Menlo Logistics Leases 551,000 SF in Carlisle

Menlo Logistics, Inc. signed a lease to occupy 550,800 square feet at The Carlisle Distribution Center Building 4 located at 40 Logistics Dr. in Carlisle, PA. 

The 972,000-square-foot distribution building was constructed in 2012 on nearly 60 acres. The distribution facility features 92 loading docks, four drive-in bays, and 32-foot clear heights.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Select Top Five Philadelphia Industrial Leases Signed in Q2 2013

The select top industrial lease signed during the second quarter of 2013 in the Philadelphia market was at 201 Fulling Mill Rd in the Harrisburg Area East Industrial submarket. American Power Conservation renewed its 650,671-square-foot lease there. 

One Kings Lane leased 503,423 square feet at Commerce Circle in the Lehigh Valley Industrial submarket. 

Harley signed a 438,000-square-foot lease at the York Business Center in the York County Industrial submarket. 

Martin John F. & Sons, Inc. leased 190,000 square feet at the Valley Forge Flag building in the Berks Industrial submarket. 

The Judge Organization Logistics Services renewed its 100,800-square-foot lease at Bristol Industrial Park Bldg BA-30 in the Bucks Industrial submarket. 

This trend is compared to the U.S. National Industrial largest lease signings occurring in 2Q 2013, which include the 788,160-square-foot lease signed by at Alliance Gateway 11 in the Dallas / Ft. Worth market; the 686,865-square-foot renewal signed by at Landmark 4 in the Salt Lake City market; and American Power Conservation's 650,671-square-foot renewal lease at 201 Fulling Mill Rd. in the Philadelphia market.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Buzz builds on another Comcast tower

Comcast Corp., which runs its growing media empire from Philadelphia's tallest skyscraper, is considering building at least one new tower in Center City and is working with the prominent British architect Norman Foster, according to sources in the city's real estate community. Details about Comcast's expansion plans are being kept under tight wraps, but the company appears to be focusing on constructing the first of several towers on a long, skinny, 1.5-acre site at 18th and Arch Streets, a block west of the Comcast Center. That building could eventually be part of a vertical campus including towers at 19th Street and Arch, and 18th and John F. Kennedy Boulevard. All three sites are controlled by Liberty Property Trust, which completed Comcast's sleek, 975-foot headquarters just six years ago. Since then, Comcast has grown enormously. With its acquisition of NBCUniversal and its move into new digital products, Comcast has filled virtually all 1.2 million square feet in its glass obelisk and needs more office space for its expanding workforce.

There are 3,500 employees in the Comcast Center at 17th Street and JFK, with hundreds of employees scattered in buildings around Center City. The company just signed a short-term lease for 100,000 square feet in Three Logan Square as a stopgap. Neither Comcast nor Liberty would confirm they are working together on an expansion plan. In an interview, Liberty vice president John Gattuso said he was intensively studying conditions at 18th and Arch to determine what kind of project would be appropriate. That property was approved for a 1,500-foot skyscraper in 2008, but it seems unlikely that Liberty would aim for such altitude. "The tower will be as big as it needs to be," he said. "We need to understand the constraints of the site. We need to figure out the program and find a tenant."

Full story:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Benefits Consultants Grp Leases 21,000 SF

Benefits Consultants Group leased 21,352 square feet at the Colwick 51 building located at 51 Haddonfield Rd. in Cherry Hill, NJ. 

The three-story, 96,419-square-foot office building was constructed in 1987 on 7.7 acres in the North Camden County submarket, part of the Colwick Business Center. 

Bergman Real Estate and Time Equities purchased the building in March 2012 for $3.4 million. The joint venture repositioned the property and underwent an extensive capital improvement program with the hopes of cornering an untapped market in South Jersey. 

Benefits Consultants Group will join CorVel Corporation, Danville Sales Company and Dr. Anne Rosenberg, all of which recently completed separate lease deals at the property. Spaces ranging from 700 to 21,400 square feet are still available; many are move-in ready with asking rents starting at $16 per square foot.

Staples Renews 25,000 SF at Northampton Crossings

Staples has renewed its 25,055-square-foot lease at Northampton Crossings located at 3722-3794 Easton Nazareth Hwy in Easton, PA. 

Northampton Crossings is a shopping center anchored by Hobby Lobby, Kohl's, Sam's Club, Walmart and Staples. The highly visible center totals 624,032 square feet and is located at the corner of Route 33. 

In a separate deal, Lane Bryant also renewed its lease for 10,064 square feet at the shopping center.

Susquehanna River Basin Commission Acquires New HQ

Susquhanna River Basin Commission purchased the property located at 4423 N Front St in Harrisburg from QBN Development for $9,466,419 or about $315.55 per square foot. The property includes 16,000 square feet of lower level parking. 
The class A 30,000 square foot office building just finished construction in June of this year situated on 3.39 acres. The owners have taken occupancy of the LEED certified building and are offering 4,800-square feet available for lease.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Select Top Five Philadelphia Retail Leases Signed in Q2 2013

The select top retail lease signed during the second quarter of 2013 in the Philadelphia market was at 1026 Market St. in the Market Street East submarket. Jenel Management represented the landlord in a 56,000-square-foot lease deal signed there. 

Whole Foods Market leased 47,337 square feet at Ellisburg Circle Shopping Center in the North Camden County submarket. Federal Realty Investment Trust represented the landlord. 

Furniture Outlet renewed its 28,596-square-foot lease at 609 Avenue of the States Ave. in Delaware County. Maverick Management represented the landlord. 

T & D Power leased 27,000 square feet at 927 N. State St. in the I-81 Corridor submarket. Dagata Ernest & Sherwood Donal represented the landlord. 

Gold's Gym leased 19,105 square feet at East Manchester Village Center in York County. Amazing Space Properties represented the landlord. 

In the first quarter, ShopRite leased 65,000 square feet at Four Seasons Plaza - Bldg 1 in the South New Castle County submarket. Silicato Development handled the direct deal for the landlord. 

This trend is compared to the U.S. National Retail largest lease signings occurring in 2Q 2013, which include the 255,000-square-foot-lease signed by Von Maur at Riverchase Galleria in the Birmingham market; the 200,000-square-foot-deal signed by Dillards at The Shops at Summerlin Centre in the Las Vegas market; and Nordstrom's 138,000-square-foot lease signed at Ridgedale Center in the Minneapolis market.

Crowdfunding for Commercial Real Estate (Video)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

FMC looks for a new HQ

by Joseph N. DiStefano

 There aren't a lot of big employers looking for a new headquarters in Philadelphia. That has made Pierre Brondeau, chief executive of FMC Corp., extra popular among governors, mayors, landlords, and their agents. They are excited - anxious, in Philly's case - by the question of how far Brondeau will be moving the multinational chemical company and hundreds of managers and staff from current digs at 1735 Market St. when the lease runs out. "We will make a decision in September," Brondeau told me. "We have to make a decision by December."

 Landlords such as Liberty Property Trust, which built sites for GlaxoSmithKline, Tasty Baking, Urban Outfitters, and Iroko Pharmaceuticals at the old Navy base in South Philadelphia, would have loved to build FMC a tower of its own. Liberty built Comcast Center, the city's tallest building. Brandywine Realty Trust, which owns five of the 10 biggest buildings in Center City, has been scouting for tenants to join the University of Pennsylvania at a proposed new high-rise. Brandywine would be thrilled to accommodate FMC. But FMC is a lean operation, and Brondeau doesn't have an edifice complex. "We do not need a building like Comcast or Glaxo, who occupy their entire buildings," he added. "We are not going to build a building." Still and all, he says it has been surprisingly tough to find big blocks of contiguous office space. Philadelphia missed out on the office-building bubble of the mid-2000s.

 FMC plus someone else could fill a tower. As Brondeau put it: "We may move into a building built for multiple tenants, for multiple purposes. We may occupy half the building, or one-third. It's much more flexible to rent floors." In a city where rents have not changed much in 20 years, why not just stretch across several vacant spaces? "I still think it's important for a company our size to have a headquarters that presents who we are and what we do," Brondeau said. "When you want to recruit people from the other end of the world, you want to show you are a company, for real. But it doesn't have to be a huge building." This being Philadelphia, FMC is also being recruited by New Jersey and Delaware.

Just as Philadelphia is trying to lure Subaru of America's headquarters from Cherry Hill, to the consternation of Jersey officials. FMC has operations in all three states. Brondeau talks regularly with Mayor Nutter, whom Brondeau calls "an exceptional guy." "He'll do anything he can to help us stay in Philadelphia," Brondeau added. Gov. Corbett's office has also called to help.

Brondeau is a big Philly fan: "My wife is from Chicago, we spent eight years in Boston, but Philadelphia is special, Philadelphia is cool. People are nicer. Oh, yeah. I worked many places in France, in Asia. I showed my family the world. And they all came back here." Rittenhouse Square or Washington Square on a sunny day with flowering trees and caf├ęs full of friends, it might be Paris, Brondeau likes to say.

 But Wilmington's all right, too: "Delaware is a very friendly state for corporations," he said. "And our plant down there in Newark is operating very well." And there's plenty of space vacated by DuPont, Bank of America, and AstraZeneca. "But then, we have to look at our employees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," Brondeau said. "I don't want to make their lives miserable. Will Delaware create a problem for them?" And Jersey, he included: "We have an R&D center in Ewing, near Trenton. I go there very often. It's a 40-minute drive." Close to Amtrak, Princeton, New York. "These are all natural places for us to be," Brondeau said. Elected officials need jobs, taxes, and some wins. So they're friendly to Pierre Brondeau. He thinks the federal government in Washington might learn from their example. "The mayors, the governors, they all want to work with us. With industry," Brondeau said.
Full story:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Brandywine Acquires One and Two Commerce Square for $331.8 million

Brandywine Realty Trust announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Parkway Properties, Inc. ("Parkway") to acquire two Trophy-class high rise assets located in Philadelphia's CBD, One and Two Commerce Square ("Commerce Square"), based on a $331.8 million valuation, or $175 per square foot. Closing of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and the consummation of the merger between Parkway and Thomas Properties Group, Inc. ("Thomas"). Brandywine currently owns a 25% preferred interest in Commerce Square and will acquire the remaining common ownership interests from Thomas subject to two existing first priority mortgages totaling approximately $238.0 million and will fund the remaining net cash portion totaling $69.0 million from Brandywine's existing cash balances. Commerce Square consists of two 41-story Trophy-class towers comprising a full city block on Market Street between 20(th) and 21(st) Streets and totals 1,896,142 square feet. The buildings were built in 1987 and 1992 and, through a recent extensive capital redevelopment program, Commerce Square achieved LEED-Silver status. Commerce Square has a central plaza, The Court at Commerce Square, including ground-level retail, restaurant space and a 525-space underground garage. Upon completion of the transaction, Brandywine will assume full management responsibilities, including property management and leasing. "This transaction enables us to acquire two of Philadelphia's Trophy-class CBD properties at a significant discount to replacement cost," stated Gerard H. Sweeney, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brandywine Realty Trust. "Commerce Square is currently 88% leased providing good current NOI with significant occupancy and rental rate growth opportunities. This transaction is consistent with our stated objective of increasing overall revenue contribution from urban and town center properties. This acquisition is subject to existing secured debt balances and we will continue acceleration of our non-core asset sale program to continue strengthening our balance sheet." Brandywine has also entered into an agreement with Parkway to acquire Four Points Centre and an adjacent 19-acre land parcel in Austin, Texas for $51.0 million. Four Points Centre is valued at $42.0 million, or $217 per square foot, and is comprised of two three-story buildings located in Austin's Northwest submarket and totals 193,862 square feet. The two LEED-Gold buildings were built in 2008 and are currently 100% leased. The adjacent 19-acre land parcel is valued at $9.0 million, or $18.75 per FAR, and is entitled to build up to 480,000 square feet of office space. The acquisition is subject to a 45-day due diligence period, customary closing conditions and the completion of the merger between Parkway and Thomas.

Petra Capital Mgmt Sells Two Bldgs for $8M

The Brickstone Companies purchased 1122-1124 and 1126-1128 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia from Petra Capital Management LLC for $8 million, or about $60 per square foot. 

The two buildings total a combined 134,509 square feet and sit on more than half an acre. The Brickstone Companies plans to convert the office building at 1126 - 1128 Chestnut Street into residential units with ground level retail. The building located at 1122-1124 Chestnut St will be razed by end of 2013, and a multiple-floor building of retail and apartment units will be built in its place. 

Foster Wheeler USA Corp Sells Camden Resource Recovery Facility

ovanta Holding Corporation purchased the Camden Resource Recovery Facility at 600 Morgan St. in Camden, NJ from Foster Wheeler USA Corporation for $48.6 million, or about $163 per square foot. 

The 297,930-square-foot facility sits on 18.8 acres and is capable of producing upwards of 146,000 megawatt hours of electricity in a year. This facility burns 1,050 tons of waste per day, converting it to usable energy. 

Covanta is a waste disposal and renewable energy production company. This facility is the fourth of its kind for the company in New Jersey. 

"We are excited to expand our portfolio of energy-from-waste facilities with the strategic and opportunistic acquisition. We have a strong track record of successfully integrating businesses and we look forward to welcoming new clients and employees into the Covanta family," said Anthony Orlando, Covanta's CEO and president. 

Endurance RE Acquires Union Meeting Corp Ctr

HUB Properties Trust has sold the three office buildings at 960 Harvest Dr. in Blue Bell, PA to Endurance Real Estate Group LLC for $4.1 million, or about $32 per square foot. 

The three office buildings total 129,433 square feet and were built in 1988. The property was vacant at the time of the sale which consists of two two-story buildings and one single-story building. The new owners are planning multiple improvements including upgrading the building systems, renovating the lobbies and common areas.

Karcher NA Leases 131,000 SF in Blackwood

Karcher North America, a cleaning equipment manufacturer, signed a lease for 130,930 square feet in the industrial building at 500 University Ct. in Blackwood, NJ. 

The single-story warehouse totals 275,930 square feet in the Freeway Corporate Center. The building was constructed in 1996. Karcher North America will occupy nearly half of the building, which includes 10,000 square feet of office space. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Brian Tierney Sets Up Shop in West Conshy

Brian Tierney has moved the office of Brian Communications and Realtime Media to the Four Falls building in West Conshohocken.  Tierney is the former head and namesake of Tierney Communications and at one time was the publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and
Brian Communications is a full service communications agency. Realtime Media is a strategic promotions firm that builds consumer insights for brands by engaging customers across web, social and mobile.

Tower near Schuylkill River Park wins design approval

A 20-story residential tower planned at the entrance to the popular Schuylkill River Park won final approval Tuesday from the Civic Design Review board, despite concerns that the project could seriously affect pedestrian safety and an adjacent community garden.

The unanimous decision cleared the way for developer Carl Dranoff to start construction next fall. Joan Wells, president of the Schuylkill River Park Community Garden, said she was disappointed that the review board gave the project a green light, especially after several board members pointed out problems with the design. "He doesn't have to change anything now," she complained.

While Dranoff has all the approvals he needs to start construction, he acknowledged during the hearing that some of the criticism was legitimate, and offered to continue meeting with residents to discuss revisions to the design, by Cecil Baker + Partners. "I want to be collaborative," he said. Any changes are likely to be modest. For instance, Dranoff said he that he could not agree to a key demand from opponents to shift the tower farther away from the garden. Doing so, he argued, would require a major redesign and time-consuming city approvals.

 The mixed-used project, which is being called One Riverside, is planned for a small triangular parking lot on 25th Street immediately south of the Locust Street entrance to the Schuylkill Banks trail. The slim glass tower would rise along the southern edge of the site, just eight feet from the community garden. It would stand alongside a one-story parking garage on 25th Street.

Full story:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Commercial Real Estate Rents on the Rise

By Glenn Somerville

Shopping centers and office towers that sat empty and unlighted during and after the recession are slowly being put back into use. Along with the rest of the national economy, rents for commercial space hit the skids during the severe 2007-2009 contraction. Now a slow but steady revival means rents will rise about 2.25% on average in 2014, after climbing about 2% this year. Nearly three years of unbroken monthly job creation has left shoppers better off and businesses looking around for warehouse space that will allow them to stock up inventories.

Boom conditions they’re not — certainly the improvement isn’t enough to trigger another construction surge. But the situation is a great deal better than from 2009 to mid-2011, when industry discussion focused on how much rents had to be cut to keep any occupants in commercial buildings. The upswing is not evenly distributed, either, especially for retail space. Consumer demand has not rebounded equally and some big urban areas — Los Angeles on the West Coast and New York on the East Coast, for example — are seeing big rent increases. Meanwhile, commercial real estate in other regions continues to languish.

Still, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” as Phil Jemmett, a commercial loan expert and CEO of Breakwater Equity Partners in San Diego, says. “The further the Great Recession retreats into our past, the more accurately we can see that the recovering economy is lifting the commercial real estate industry. The end of 2012 marked an inflection point and we have subsequently seen steady improvement.”

After increasing an average of 2.6% this year, top-flight office space will cost about 2.8% more next year — more on the coasts, where businesses cluster and legal, banking and other business service industries bid for the classiest buildings and premium locations.

Not long ago, a savvy businessman could snag the best space, Class A, for a song, just because its owners desperately needed the income. Those days are gone. Such top-quality space in primary markets such as New York and Los Angeles has now reached its potential, according to Jemmett. He says, “Deals that were available 18 months ago are absolutely, categorically out the window now.” Even in popular smaller markets —such as Austin, Texas — rents are following that upward trend.

Full story: