Thursday, July 17, 2014

Equus Capital kills apartment plan, decides to construct office building in Conshohocken

by Natalie Kostelni, Staff writer for the Philadelphia Business Journal
Equus Capital Partners has switched gears with a large site it owns in Conshohocken, Pa., and has decided to construct an office building rather than an apartment complex.
The developer is looking to build a seven-story, 320,000-square-foot structure. The building would sit on West Elm Street and be walking distance of the Conshohocken train station. It would also be out of a floodplain that has bedeviled other existing structures during extended torrential downpours.
The building would be visible from I-476, giving prospective tenants the ability to have signage that would be highly visible from the highway, said Steve Spaeder of Equus Capital, a Philadelphia real estate firm.
Wulff Architects designed the building, which would have a series of on-site amenities that tenants increasingly desire in their offices such as dining, exercise facilities and common areas where people can gather to socialize. In addition, the floorplates are 45,000 square feet, a size that some firms want so they can have several departments on a single floor.
When Equus bought the 20-acre tract in 2011, it planned to construct 300 apartment units as it sought to seize upon what was then a fledgling appetite of multifamily housing development. Now, with so little office space available to lease in Conshohocken, the developer has decided an office building might be a better bet.
The overall vacancy rate of the 3.6 million-square-foot market is about 13.7 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s second quarter market report. That figure doesn’t take into account some leases that have been negotiated in recent weeks but haven’t started, which would push it down a little more.
Other developers also see an opportunity in Conshohocken. Oliver Tyrone Pulver and O’Neill Properties Group also want to construct new office space in the borough and drawn up plans for projects. Keystone Property Group is also looking to construct a mixed-use development at First and Fayette streets in the borough that would include an office component.

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