Thursday, October 22, 2015

Post Brothers in $210M Redevelopment of Presidential City

by Steve Lubetkin,
One of the largest multifamily complexes in the Philadelphia area is getting a $210 million makeover that will transform more than 1,000 apartment units in buildings named for colonial era presidents into luxury living spaces with upscale amenities.

Post Brothers, a local firm that focuses on developing and operating high quality class-A multifamily properties,acquired Presidential City, 3900 City Ave., in 2012. The four-building complex was built in the 1950s by John McShain, who also built the Pentagon and the Jefferson Memorial, says Matt Pestronk, a principal of the firm with his brother Michael.

“It’s one of the largest multifamily redevelopment projects on the east coast in terms of dollars and in terms of units,” Pestronk tells exclusively. There are currently 1,038 units in the complex, “with zoning to build more,” he says.

“We’d always wanted to buy the property and comprehensively redevelop it, that’s our specialty,” Pestronk says. “When we’re done, we’re going to have an irreplaceable large-scale asset that’s differentiated from an apartment-finish standpoint vs. the rest of the market, and offers renters a very attractive value proposition, a lot of apartment for the money.”

Post Brothers is gut-renovating all four buildings at the Presidential City site, each named for early presidents, and each with its own unique set of amenities: Washington: salon, cardio fitness room, bike storage; Madison: co-working space, barista bar, cardio fitness room, bike storage; Jefferson: shared executive offices, game room, cardio fitness room, bike storage; and Adams: library, kids playroom, cardio fitness room, bike storage.

“It will be a fully amenitized, class-A apartment complex,” Pestronk says. “Everything inside the buildings other than the concrete slabs will be brand new, it will have all new base building systems, plumbing, electric, sprinklers, all new apartment layouts, brand new kitchens, brand-new bathrooms, hardwood floors. Relative to what people are renting class A apartment buildings in Center City Philadelphia, we think we really have a great value proposition for the renter.”

Post Brothers will be adding a 24/7 front desk attendant; world-class lounge with afternoon tea; the Sora Pool Club with waterside cabanas, Olympic-length lap pool, lounge pool, and activity pool, hot tub, spa services, dry sauna, coed steam room, tanning booths, and outdoor amenities including a fire pit lounge, yoga lawn, bocce courts, sport court, tot lot, roof top lounge, outdoor kitchen, and dog parks. A 10,000 square-foot fitness center will offer a state-of-the-art gym and juice bar with free PostFit classes in cardio, pilates, yoga, cross-fit and spin, with private training sessions available.

“Our specialty is gut-renovation and repurposing of existing buildings,” says Pestronk. “The property was at the end of its useful life and it was marketed to people who were used to buying value-add apartment properties, like 1970s vintage garden apartments, which are worlds easier to renovate than high-rise apartments from the 1950s. We just thought the best way to look at the property was as a blank slate that needed complete reconstruction.”

Post Brothers has done several similar projects of this scale, and Pestronk says that the challenge for his firm was to make sure the renovation lives up to the quality and reputation of the location.

“The challenge was doing the site justice,” he says. The Washington tower is finished and about 75 percent leased. The three remaining towers should be renovated and leased up by early next year, he says.

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