Friday, January 29, 2016

Rockin’ Jump Leases Space in Williamstown

Rockin’ Jump, a recreational trampoline park, has signed a five-year lease for 21,006 square feet of retail space at 1231 S. Black Horse Pike in Williamstown, NJ.

The 95,802-square-foot Williamstown Shopping Center is owned and managed by RD Management LLC. It is anchored by Dollar General, CVS Pharmacy and Total Fitness.

Planet Fitness to Occupy 20,000 SF in Middletown Square

Planet Fitness signed a lease for 19,508 square feet at the Middletown Square shopping center at 701-881 N. Broad St. in Middletown, DE.

The 291,858-square-foot shopping center was built in 1990, has a parking ratio of 2.8:1, and is anchored by Dollar Tree and Pet City.

Main Street Movies 5 Leases 18,000 SF in Newark

Atlantic Realty Company leased 18,000SF of retail space at the Newark Shopping Center located at 301-415 Newark Shopping Center in Newark DE. The Shopping center consists of a total 183,017 square feet and recently completed a renovation in 2015.
The tenants plan to apply for a permit to serve a full bar as well to its customers. The 18,000 SF space plans its renovation and build out to begin in February, 2016 with an opening date set for late summer.

University of Pennsylvania Health System Leases Space at Centre Square

The University of Pennsylvania Health System has signed a 10-year lease for 29,583 square feet in the office building located at 1500 Market St. in Philadelphia, PA.

The 43-story, 1.38 million-square-foot Centre Square West Tower building was designed by Vincent G. Kling & Partners and delivered in 1974, with a renovation completed in 1991.

The University’s lease includes space on floors 8 - 12 and 14. Other tenants in the building include Sovereign Bank, Public Health Management Corporation and Comcast, among others.

Goodwill Leases 18,000 SF in Trappe

Goodwill leased 17,650 square feet of retail space on a 10-year basis at the Trappe Center retail center at 130A W. Main St. in Trappe. PA.

Trappe Center totals 122,822 square feet, built in 1991. Goodwill will be sharing the property with a grocery anchor and CVS Pharmacy, among others.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Blumenfeld: Philadelphia’s North Broad Corridor ‘Connects the Dots’

by Steve Lubetkin,
Philadelphia’s North Broad Corridor, one of the hottest redevelopment sites in Center City, can help “connect the dots” of redevelopment more broadly between the Center City area and the Temple University complex in North Philadelphia, Eric Blumenfeld, founder and principal, EB Realty Management Corp., tells exclusively.

“I’m going to talk about how we can connect the dots about where we came from and where we’re going, the distinctive buildings that we’re involved in and why they lend so much character,” he says. “How can we preserve them in a way that’s respectful of the past and see the need to cure obsolescence and create the best situation for the neighborhood.”

Blumenfeld, who is participating in the “Build, Rebuild, Renew” panel at ALM’s RealShare Philadelphia Conference February 9 at the historic Union League Club, has several signature projects in the works on North Broad Street. Coming off the ribbon cutting for his Mural Loft Apartments in the former Thaddeus Stevens School of Practice, a former school building at the corner of North Broad and Spring Garden Streets, Blumenfeld and his financing partner, William “Billy” Procida of Procida Funding recently launched the redevelopment of the historic Divine Lorraine Hotel in the neighborhood, which will encompass residential, office, retail, and dining space in an unusual and iconic building.

“It’s a lot about critical mass,” says Blumenfeld. “When we built 640 North Broad, the upper floors proved the residential model, that people would actually live on North Broad Street, and then Osteria proved the commercial model. That only happened because the development in the neighborhoods that flank Broad Street, Francisville and Fairmount, was happening for decades.”

Now that the Divine Lorraine, the Studebaker Building, and other projects are underway on North Broad Street, says Blumenfeld, “you can start to see North Broad Street as a kind of connected community that’s walkable and scalable.”

The demand is clearly there, says Blumenfeld.

“The absorption is very, very fast there,” he says. “We came on line with the Mural Arts building in late November and December, and here we are in late January, we’re 70 percent occupied. Nobody would have believed that. We expected it would take six months or maybe a year to absorb that community. And I’ve never seen a building have more of a mystique than the Divine Lorraine. I expect that to lease up even faster than Mural Arts.”

The “Build, Rebuild, Renew: Development and Redevelopment Around Philadelphia” panel, also will include as panelists Robert Cottone, president and CEO, IMC Construction; Michael D'Onofrio, managing director, Engineered Tax Services, and Gary Gabriel, executive vice president, Cushman & Wakefield of New Jersey. Moderating the panel is Carl Primavera, partner, Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzburg.

Panelists will discuss the area’s most notable projects as well as the in-demand geographical areas, available tax abatements, and impact on the community. Among the expected topics:

Will Camden do for Philadelphia what Jersey City did for NYC?
Where does repurposing fit into the thriving activity, and
Will these projects continue to flourish or will they falter from overbuilding?
The panel is scheduled to start at 11:05 a.m. The conference kicks off Tuesday, February 9 at 7:30 am at the Union League Club, 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.

Station Apartments in Croydon Sells for $6.55M

by Steve Lubetkin,
Croydon Station Apartments sold for $6.5 million. It is a 92-unit apartment complex in Bristol, PA. Buyer and seller were not identified. The sale marked the first time the property had been on the market since it was built in 1968.

“The sale of Croydon Station Apartments provided an opportunity to acquire a highly desirable asset in Bucks County. The transaction reflects the continued strong demand among investors for apartments, even as interest rates began to rise. Given the strength of the market, we obtained an aggressive price for the property, which was approximately 95 percent occupied at closing.”

All units at Croydon Station, 909 Bristol Pike, offer large floor plans, eat-in kitchens, and very large walk-in closets. Before the sale, the owner had upgraded select units with new kitchens and bathrooms. New hot water heaters were also installed throughout the property.

“The purchaser was eager to acquire such a strong property from a long term owner."

The property is located along Bristol Pike (U.S. 13) directly across from the Croydon Station SEPTA Line. The station is served by the Trenton Line, which provides access to and from Philadelphia; Trenton, NJ; and NJ Transit to New York City. The property also is near the Delaware Expressway and Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sands Closes $7.5M Lehigh Valley MOB Transactions

by Steve Lubetkin,
Sands Investment Group's Bryant Hoover says the California firm arranged the $7.5 million sale and leaseback of two doctor-owned medical office buildings in the Lehigh Valley cities of Whitehall and Bethlehem, PA.

Hoover, of Sands' Santa Monica office, represented the sellers, groups of doctor/owners, in both transactions. The buyer for both properties was an East Coast institutional investment firm, but neither it nor the sellers were identified.

The first sale involved the $4.415 million sale and leaseback of a 22,742-square-foot, three-tenant medical office property located at 2014 County Line Road in Bethlehem. The property, in an optimal medical area surrounded by a number of hospitals and clinics, is situated within a mile of the Lehigh Valley Hospital. Tenants include Fresenius, RMS, a DaVita subsidiary, and Valley Kidney Specialists. SIG sold the building, developed in 1972, at $194 per foot at a 6.8 cap rate. “This was an older building owned by a group of doctors, and several of the doctors wanted to retire,” Bryant Hoover of Sands Investment Group’s Santa Monica office tells exclusively. “We needed to educate the doctors in terms of a sale-leaseback, and on cap rates, and let them know that the other doctors can retire and we can get you the highest dollar amount for this property, especially at the peak of the market, where it’s more a cap rate play than a per-square-foot.”

The second transaction was the $3.125 million sale and leaseback of a 10,170-square-foot single tenant medical office building anchored by Fresenius Medical Care. The property is located at 1320 Mickley Road in Whitehall. This is an extremely strong location near six major area hospitals. SIG achieved a cap rate of 6.7 on this transaction. The owners of the building also serve as medical directors for Fresenius, says Hoover.  “By extending the lease, we’re also able to get a high dollar amount on the property because of the income stream,” he says. “Both of these have new ten-year leases on them when we’re done.”

“REITs currently own less than 20 percent of the entire US medical office market,” says Hoover. “By structuring a sale/leaseback with the doctors and owners of the MOB, these assets become more desirable for future investors.”

PREIT Selling Four Malls In Three States

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) has received deposits on the sale of four malls under contract as part of the Philadelphia-based REIT's plan to raise up to $225 million by the middle of next year by disposing of non-core and underperforming assets.

PREIT announced that it has received the non-refundable deposits on a sale agreement for Gadsden Mall and Wiregrass Commons Mall, in Gadsden and Dothan, AL; and New River Valley Mall in Christianburg, VA; which are being sold as a three-property package to an institutional buyer for $95.4 million, as well as a separate agreement for the sale of Palmer Park Mall in Easton, PA.

PREIT is also negotiating a contract for the sale of two Center City properties, 1501-05 Walnut St. and 1520-22 Chestnut St., and is under contract to sell a land parcel in Gainesville, FL, scheduled to close mid-2017, according to an investor presentation. The mall operator is also marketing the Lycoming Mall in Pennsdale, PA and Washington Crown Center in Washington, PA.

Sale terms for the transaction will be released upon closing. The three-mall package, Palmer Park Mall and Center City retail properties are expected to close in the first half of 2016, while the sales of Lycoming Mall and Washington Crown Center are expected to close in the second half of the year. The Florida land expected to be final in the first half of 2017.

In total, the REIT expects to raise $220 million to $225 million in proceeds from the transactions.

The dispositions have been a top priority allowing PREIT to recycle capital into higher-quality assets, said CEO Joseph F. Coradino. The company has sold interests in 20 assets, including eight non-core malls with sales of less than $250 per square foot, over the last three years with a total value of over $480 million.

GSI Health, CDI Lease Space at BNY Mellon Center

GSI Health, a healthcare IT company that creates software used in the healthcare system, leased 15,553 square feet at BNY Mellon Center at 1735 Market St. in Philadelphia, PA.

In a separate deal, CDI, formerly known as International Visitors Council, an organization that administers international exchange programs for the US Government, signed a lease for 34,987 square feet there.

The 54-story office building totals 1.33 million square feet and was delivered in 1990. The developer was Pennsylvania Real Estate Trust and it is owned by Nine Penn Center Associates. The Bank of New York Mellon recently reduced their footprint in the building. Other tenants in the building include BNY Mellon Wealth Management and Citizens Bank.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Strong Demand for Philadelphia Multifamily

by Steve Lubetkin,
Retail and multifamily properties are highly active and continue to see strong demand.

“We continue to see great market activity and high investor demand from the institutional and private buyer community for well-located multifamily in the city. Cap rates on class A multifamily and class B value add multifamily continue to remain low and per unit pricing is at record levels.  Also, retail continues to be highly sought after as both urban units and suburban centers trade at record pricing.”

With rents on the rise in trophy-class and class-A properties along with dropping vacancies, Philadelphia seems to be a landlord’s market. In addition to out-of-town investors making their mark in the city, panelists will discuss factors that continue to drive the mixed use sectors and what particular areas are teeming with activity. Among the trends expected to be discussed are coworking, incubator spaces, and crowd-funding—and how they play into the most bustling areas.

Architects plan the world's tallest building (Video)

Monday, January 25, 2016

National Asset Services Spruced Up 300 Four Falls for Sale

by Steve Lubetkin,
The recent sale of 300 Four Falls came in part because of two years of revitalization efforts by National Asset Services, which says it created greater marketability for the property's sale by a tenant-in-common ownership structure counting down a maturing loan.

As reported last week, an affiliate of Maguire Hayden Real Estate Company has acquired the seven-story West Conshohocken office property for $98.4 million.

“The TICs decided to change management, because they felt that there were challenges that were not being addressed to their satisfaction by the previous manager,” Karen E. Kennedy, president and founder of NAS, tells exclusively. “We were brought in based on relationship and track record.”

Not to be confused with the actual building tenants, tenants-in-common are collections of investors, and in fact many tenants-in-common are “serial TICs,” says Kennedy, with portfolios of different investments across the country, with whom NAS works on other assets.

Although news reports about the recent property sale indicate that it changed hands at about the same price as its last sale, Kennedy notes that the property’s value had suffered, and takes credit for pulling the value back up.

“We were brought in when there was a loss in equity, and we were able to restore that,” she says. “That was our goal and our marching orders, and we were successful. To do that in less than three years is a pretty strong statement about the value of the property and the challenges that we faced.”

NAS assumed asset management responsibility for 300 Four Falls, a 298,371 square-foot, class A office property, in February 2014.

“When you have TIC properties, unfortunately, that structure often means there isn’t sufficient cash to do deals,” Kennedy says. “There’s no money for commissions, and brokers, fairly enough, need to make money as well, and tenants need landlords they can rely on to maintain their building in a first-class way. We restore that and get rid of that stigma wherever we can. That’s what we did in this case. The TICs stepped up and wrote checks, and added to their investment as owners do, but they did so because they knew we would be making decisions as an asset-manager, as a single point of contact between the brokerage community and the TICs as co-owners, and between the lender who also needed to get on board with this.”
Full story:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Infrastructure, real estate investing make sense: Strategist (Video)

Investors in Other Regions Focusing on Philadelphia CBD

by Steve Lubetkin,
Investor interest in the Philadelphia Central Business District is at historically high levels, as buyers broaden their search for new investment opportunities.
New capital inflows are likely to continue this year.
“In my twelve years selling investment real estate in Greater Philadelphia I’ve never seen this much interest in the Philadelphia CBD. We’ve seen more buyers that typically focused only on gateway markets expanding their investment criteria to include Philadelphia, which I believe is the most in-demand non-gateway market in the country.”
Investors outside the New York-Washington corridor are also starting to examine opportunities in the Delaware Valley.
“This interest started with groups based in New York and Washington, DC, but has expanded to groups located other regions throughout the country,” he says.  “We’ve also seen international investors close on transactions in the city this year and pursue high-quality offerings in both the city and select suburban markets.  New capital chasing deals in the Philadelphia CBD and select suburban submarkets is a trend that I believe will continue throughout 2016.” 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Brandywine Realty Trust Sells Residence Inn

Hersha Hospitality Trust purchased the Residence Inn at 191 Washington St. in Conshohocken, PA from Brandywine Realty Trust for $26.5 million, or about $193,000 per room.

The 102,454-square-foot, 137-room hospitality building delivered in 2001. The pet-friendly hotel features newly renovated suites and free high speed internet, among other guest amenities.

Monthly Economic Outlook – January 2016 (Video)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Commercial Property Prices Continue to Rise in One of the Best Years Ever for CRE Market

U.S. commercial real estate continued to enjoy a banner year in November as 2015, with market fundamentals reflecting healthy levels of absorption and continued rental gains during the month supported broad price gains, even as construction levels for office, retail and warehouse space have begun to slowly increase.

The value-weighted and the equal-weighted versions of the U.S. Composite Index, which comprise the two broadest measures of aggregate pricing for commercial properties within CoStar's commercial repeat-sale index (CCRSI), each increased by 0.9% in November 2015, contributing to annual gains in the indices of 12.2% and 11.7%, respectively, for the 12 months ended November 2015.
Meanwhile total property sales volume remains on a record pace for the year. Composite sales-pair volume of $110.2 billion from the start of 2015 through November 2015 is 25% higher than for the same period in 2014, strongly suggesting that 2015 will handily eclipse last year’s record sales volume for the CCRSI.

Along with record transaction volume, pricing for commercial property reached new highs as well, especially for high-quality assets in core markets. In November 2015, the value-weighted U.S. Composite Index soared 18.4% above its 2007 prior peak. The equal-weighted U.S. Composite Index, which reflects pricing for smaller properties in second-tier locations, also posted solid growth but remained 4% below its prior peak due to the delayed start to its recovery in comparison with the value-weighted version of the Composite Index.

Similarly, within CCRSI’s equal-weighted U.S. Composite Index, the Investment-Grade segment, which captures the performance of high-quality properties, moved to within 1% of its prior peak, while the General Commercial Index remains 4.6% off its previous high water mark.

Net absorption across the three major commercial property types - office, retail, and industrial - totaled 649.2 million square feet for the full year of 2015, a 15.5% increase from 2014, and marked the highest calendar year annual total since 2007.

Higher-quality, investment-grade properties saw the lion's share of leasing activity in 2015. Net absorption in CCRSI's investment-grade segment increased 23% from 2014, while net absorption in the general commercial segment remained flat in 2015.

The investment-grade segment in the office and industrial sectors turned in particularly strong performances, averaging net absorption of 0.5% and 0.4% of total inventory, respectively, in 2015. The retail sector, even with muted inventory additions, averaged a more modest 0.2% net absorption of total inventory in 2015.

Market Fundamentals Data Through December 2015 Annual Net Absorption (In Millions Of Square Feet) 

General Commercial98.8122.2182.3182.4

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Stag Industrial Purchases 1M SQFT in Burlington Industrial

STAG Industrial Management LLC acquired the industrial building at 1900 River Rd. in Burlington, NJ from UrbanAmerica LP for $61.5 million, or about $59 per square foot.

The 1.05 million-square-foot warehouse was built in 1992 on 108 acres in the Burlington Industrial submarket of Philadelphia. The asset is currently occupied by the GSA with five years remaining on its master lease.

According to CoStar data, this property is one of multiple buildings owned by UrbanAmerica that were placed up for sale during the summer of 2015, a portfolio that exceeds 2.3 million square feet.

What Are REITs? (Video)

Graham Co. Extends Lease at Dilworth Park

by Steve Lubetkin,
The Graham Co., an insurance and employee benefits broker, has renewed its 76,812-square-foot lease for another 10 years at the eponymously named Graham Building, 30 S. 15th St., Philadelphia.

The insurance brokerage and consulting firm had several years left on its lease but felt the timing was right to structure this extension early based on the state of the Center City office market, which is experiencing rising rents and a shrinking supply of quality, well-located office space.

Additionally, as part of the agreement, the Graham Co. will receive upfront tenant improvement dollars from the landlord to renovate its space.

“We are thrilled with the outcome of this long-term lease extension,” says Ken Ewell, president and COO of the Graham Co. “This gives us the opportunity to immediately redesign, upgrade and modernize our space, while also planning for efficient future growth in our current footprint.”

The Graham Company has been the building’s anchor-tenant since 1986, and has steadily expanded over the years to its current size, occupying the top eight floors of the building.

“It was a win-win transaction for both parties. Graham was able to secure its long-term tenancy as the anchor tenant with naming rights and substantial up front tenant improvement dollars, at attractive rental terms. Meanwhile, the landlord was able to stabilize the building for another 10 years with this large, credit tenant lease.”

Maguire Hayden Acquires Conshohocken Office Property

by Steve Lubetkin,
An affiliate of Maguire Hayden Real Estate Company has acquired 300 Four Falls, a seven-story West Conshohocken office property, for $98.4 million. The national real estate practice of Philadelphia law firm Cozen O'Connor represented Maguire Hayden in the transaction.

300 Four Falls is the largest class “A” office building in West Conshohocken, according to Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Capital Group, which arranged the sale of the property.

Maguire Hayden is a fully integrated commercial real estate investment and operating firm focused on acquiring, repositioning and managing office, industrial and flex properties throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

Representing the buyer from Cozen O’Connor were Jeffrey A. Leonard and John P. Schwartz.
Schwartz downplayed published reports that the sale was at essentially the same price investors paid for the property when it was acquired in 2007.

“If you think about when that acquisition happened, it happened at the top of the past market, prior to the Great Recession,” Schwartz tells exclusively. “Let’s not forget where we came from not too long ago. To us, it was a high-profile deal in the sense that this is a tremendous, class-A trophy building in a very sought-after suburban Philadelphia office market. This is THE building in West Conshohocken.”

300 Four Falls is prominently visible on the south side of the Schuylkill Expressway that connects Philadelphia with its western suburbs.

John P. Schwartz, Member, Cozen O'Connor real estate practice, Philadelphia
The sellers consisted of 31 tenant-in-common owners, whose investment interests in 300 Four Falls were managed by National Asset Services.

“Each owned an undivided interest in the whole,” Schwartz says.“It’s a common structure that folks use when investing in commercial real estate, but not as common as other forms.”

The sellers were represented by Matthew H. Werthman and Michael K. Coran of Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg.

Bank of America, which provided financing for the purchase, was represented by Matthew Robertson and Kevin Sholette of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How New Markets Tax Credits Work (Video)

Montgomery County has a few deisgnated New Market Tax Credit Areas
Mapping Tool:

College Plaza Trades in Ebensburg, PA

by Steve Lubetkin,
 College Plaza, a 129,945-square foot strip center anchored by Giant Eagle in Ebensburg, PA as sold.   College Plaza is about 25 miles west of Altoona.

“This deal shows the high-demand for grocery anchored strip centers in the market right now, even those in smaller market locations."

The seller was a tenant in common group. The buyer is a privately owned real estate investment company out of northern New Jersey.

College Plaza is located at 881 Hills Plaza in Ebensburg, PA, on more than 22 acres of land. The strip center is anchored by grocer Giant Eagle, which has occupied the space for more 35 years, and also includes national tenants such as Big Lots, Aarons, Dollar General, Sherwin Williams, and GNC. Pennsylvania Highlands Community Center is also within the center.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Exton Flex Sells for $7.4M in 1031 Exchange

by Steve Lubetkin,
180 Gordon Drive, a 66,755 square foot flex building in Pickering Creek Business Park sold for $7.4 million as part of a 1031 exchange. The buyer was not named.

The property was built in 1986 and was 100% leased to 10 tenants at the time of sale.  The buyer was attracted by the building’s proximity to the Downingtown Interchange of the PA Turnpike and the stability of the cash flow derived from a diverse mix of tenants.

“We have been seeing investors drawn to Chester County for its stability.You have very conservative owners in this market, so you seldom see distress due to overbuilding.”

“Risk-adjusted yields are solid for medium-sized commercial deals in Chester County. We have found a nice balance exists here between buyers’ and sellers’ value expectations – so the market is demonstrating great liquidity.”

In a sign of the robust Chester County real estate market, SSH just launched the marketing on the sale of 1025 Andrew Drive in West Chester.

Monday, January 11, 2016

U.S. Apartment Rents Decline in Fourth Quarter, Bucking Annual Trend

In a surprise finding to the end of the year, U.S. apartment rents posted one of the weakest fourth quarters since the end of the most recent recession, according to the latest analysis of the U.S. multifamily market by CoStar Group.

In the first six months of 2015, U.S. apartment rents grew at an annualized rate of 9.4%, per CoStar’s same-store analysis of more than 50 million rent observations. The growth rate slowed to just 2.7% in the second half of 2015, and turned negative over the final three months of the year. Taken together for the full year, U.S. apartment rents grew by an average of 6% in 2015.

"Our latest analysis confirms the historically strong growth in apartment rents over the first half of the year has given way to one of the weakest fourth quarters on record," said Andrew Florance, founder and CEO of CoStar Group. "We’ve always observed seasonality in apartment rents, but the downturn over the last three months of the year is certainly a noteworthy occurrence and one that would not be apparent in a year-over-year comparison. While it may be too soon to declare this a trend, it certainly bears watching."

Several of the nation’s largest apartment markets, many of which have seen record levels of construction and rent growth far outpacing income gains, experienced rent declines during the fourth quarter of 2015. Most notably, San Francisco (down 1.7%); Washington, DC (down 1.1%); Houston (down 0.5%); Philadelphia (down 0.3%); Seattle (down 0.2%), and Chicago (down 0.2%) all posted fourth quarter apartment rent declines.

Other high-growth markets, such as San Jose (down 2.7%) and Denver (down 1.0%), also saw average apartment rents decline.
According to CoStar’s analysis, newer, higher quality apartment properties, much of them built since 2010, bore the brunt of the fourth-quarter rent decline, falling by an average of 0.6%. Mid-quality, 3-Star apartment assets saw apartment rents decline by an average of 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2015, while 1- and 2-Star assets continued to post strong average rent growth of 0.4% for the fourth quarter.

Alliance Acquires York Industrial Portfolio

by Steve Lubekin,
Alliance Partners HSP has scooped up another two industrial properties in York, PA, totaling approximately 566,000 square feet. The purchase, redevelopment and subsequent leasing of these buildings is the most recent in a series of industrial acquisitions by the company totaling approximately two million square feet.

Alliance HSP purchased distribution facilities at 2925 East Market Street and 789 Kings Mill Road from D&D Distribution, totaling 386,000 square feet and 180,000 square feet, respectively. As part of the transaction, Alliance HSP entered into a full building, three-year leaseback agreement with D&D Distribution at 789 Kings Mill Road.

Alliance HSP also signed Stauffer’s Biscuit Company, a long-term logistics customer of D&D, to a long-term lease for 250,000 square feet at 2925 East Market Street. As a result of these transactions, the combined 556,000 square feet in the two buildings was approximately 75 percent leased when acquired by Alliance HSP.

“We were faced with the need for a large capital investment in a tight money market, and we decided to approach Alliance HSP largely based upon their reputation for providing creative solutions to complicated acquisitions,” says Gene Burchette, chairman of the board at D&D Distribution. “Faced with environmental issues, tenant leases, and a sale and leaseback challenge, these creative solutions were proposed, negotiated, and resolved in an expedited manner.”

Alliance HSP has already begun a capital improvement plan at 2925 Market Street, and anticipates an April 2016 completion date. With an all new roof, enhanced loading docks and improved truck circulation, the remaining 136,000-square-foot vacancy at 2925 Market Street will offer a combination of quality and price point currently unavailable in the York County industrial market.

“We believe it’s a good time to market a well-located, institutional-quality block of industrial space in York County,” says Matt Handel, director of acquisitions for Alliance HSP. “We look forward to executing our investment strategy in York, and I look forward to Alliance HSP acquiring additional industrial properties, including excess corporate real estate in Central Pennsylvania, in 2016.”

Alliance HSP’s acquisition in York follows its purchase of a 500,000-square-foot, rail-served industrial project at the Port of Baltimore; its redevelopment of a 350,000-square-foot warehouse project in Spartanburg, SC; and its "reimagining" of a 225,000-square foot warehouse project encompassing a full city block in Philadelphia into a mixed-use, residential, office and retail complex. All of these projects will require extensive redevelopment, environmental remediation, capital improvements and repositioning/re-leasing.

Shorenstein Acquires 1700 Market Street, Its Second Center City Office Building

by Steve Lubetkin,
horenstein Properties has acquired 1700 Market Street, an 848,000 square foot class A office tower in Philadelphia’s Center City submarket. The firm declined to comment beyond its press release, and declined to disclose the purchase price, but published reports indicate the sale price was around $200 million.

As previously reported by, this is the company’s second major purchase in Philadelphia and it now owns more than 1.8 million square feet of prime office space in Center City’s popular Market Street West submarket. Shorenstein recently began the initial phases of a renovation of 1818 Beneficial Bank Place, the class A Market Street West office tower it acquired in April 2015.

As with 1818 Beneficial Bank Place, Shorenstein plans to invest capital to further improve 1700 Market’s tenant appeal and make it one of the most desirable locations in the city for companies seeking highly efficient, differentiated space.

Located just one block east of Beneficial Bank Place on the corner of Market and 17th Streets, 1700 Market offers a broad range of tenants a great location, efficient 30,000 square foot floor plates, high ceiling heights, impressive window lines, and more than 675 dedicated parking spaces.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Keystone Acquires, Will Renovate GSB Building in Bala Cynwyd

by Steve Lubetkin,
Keystone Property Group has acquired and will redevelop One Belmont Avenue, also known as the GSB Building, in Bala Cynwyd, PA.

Situated in the bustling City Avenue commercial corridor, where Keystone now owns five office properties, One Belmont Avenue includes 245,000 square feet of prime office and ground-floor retail space. Keystone declined to disclose the purchase price, but industry sources familiar with the market say the deal was worth around $46 million.

The building occupies an eight-acre site, which allows for significant additional mixed-use development opportunities, for which Keystone is considering its options.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to create a multi-faceted property in an area that is so perfectly suited for office, retail, residential and hotel development," Keystone senior vice president Richard Gottlieb tells exclusively. “As we evaluate the possibilities for this unique site, we will be engaging a world-class master plan architect to develop a scheme that will further invigorate the City Avenue corridor."

Keystone is planning significant upgrades to the existing 12-story GSB Building, including new elevators, an upgraded HVAC system, enhanced lobbies and restrooms, and an improved parking structure.

“The GSB Building is ideally positioned in one of the most desirable business districts anywhere in the Philadelphia region,” says Gottlieb. “We’re excited to revamp this iconic asset to make it a more up-to-date and engaging place to work.”

Currently, the GSB Building is 93-percent occupied, attracting a diverse mix of local, regional, and national businesses. The property is located near the intersection of I-76 and Route 1, about 12 minutes from Philadelphia’s Center City.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

SBE, Dranoff Propose Second High-Rise Hotel In Center City

SBE Entertainment Group and Dranoff Properties have proposed a 22-story hotel and apartment project 337-341 South Broad St., near SBE and Dranoff’s proposed luxury hotel at Broad and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia’s Center City.

The developers late last month presented plans for the project to the zoning committee for the Washington Square West Civic Association (WSWCA). The current building on the site at 337 S. Broad St., which now hosts a Starbucks, restaurant and parking structure, would be demolished once Dranoff acquires the land and secures a zoning change through the city.

The $75 million project would include retail on the first two floors, a hotel lobby on the fourth floor, six floors totaling 76 hotel rooms under SBE’s new Hyde brand, and 83 apartments on the top 11 floors. Los Angeles-based SBE was founded by hospitality investor Sam Nazarian.

Dranoff expects to close on the purchase of the property from Samson Asset Management, representing the Samuel Rappaport family, by mid-year, according to published reports on the informational presentation to WSWC.

SBE and Dranoff’s hotel proposed in late 2013, SLS Lux, is scheduled to open in 2017. The developers say the Hyde lodging property will be somewhat less upscale and will not cannibalize business from the upscale SLS.

Brandywine Sells More Properties in Texas and PA

by Steve Lubetkin,
Brandywine Realty Trust, continuing with its previously announced strategy of selling non-core properties, says it sold a 137-room hotel in Conshohocken, PA, not far from its corporate headquarters in Radnor, and two office properties in Austin, TX.

Last month, in separate transactions, as reported by, Brandywine announced the sale of Cira Square, its redevelopment of the former main US Post Office building in Philadelphia, to Korean Investment Management Co., a Korean property investment firm, the refinancing of One Commerce Square in Philadelphia, and the sale of six office properties in nearby Mount Laurel, NJ.

In the most recent announcement, Brandywine sold its Encino Trace, a recently completed development of two office properties in Austin, TX, to an existing joint venture between Brandywine and DRA Advisors. Brandywine says it retains 50 percent ownership in the joint venture.  The sale values the project at $91.3 million, or $285 per square foot, at stabilization.  The transaction closed on December 31, 2015.  At the time of sale, Brandywine had incurred project costs totaling $76.7 million. The joint venture will fund the remaining costs, Brandywine says.  The two properties have 320,000 square feet of space. Encino Trace I is 100 percent leased and Encino Trace II is 17 percent leased.  After closing costs and transaction costs, Brandywine says it will receive net proceeds of $35.9 million.

Encino Trace I was financed with a $30 million five-year first mortgage at 185 basis points over the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate, Brandywine also noted.  After stabilizing Encino Trace II during 2016 and refinancing the property with a similar mortgage, the REIT says it expects its share of the mortgage proceeds to total $14.3 million.

Brandywine also sold its 50 percent interest in The Residence Inn Tower Bridge, a 137-room hotel located in Conshohocken, PA.  The sale price was $26.5 million ($193,430 per room key) and closed on December 30, 2015.  After debt repayment, transaction costs and holdbacks, Brandywine says it will net $6.1 million from the transaction.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Symphony Health Leases Space in Conshohocken

Symphony Health, a healthcare data company, has signed a 15,000-square-foot lease in the office building at 1001 E. Hector St. in Conshohocken, PA.

The four-story building totals 131,918 square feet in the Quaker Park business center. Preferred Real Estate developed the property in 2001 and sold it in 2005. It is now owned and managed by BPG Real Estate Services.

Health Care Provider Inks 5 Year Deal

Holy Redeemer Health Systems has signed a five-year lease to occupy 18,400 square feet at 2nd Street Pike in Richboro, PA.

Known as Addisville Commons, the two-story retail and office building just broke ground and is expected to be completed in December 2016.

Regus Leases 16,000 SF in Chadds Ford

International workplace provider Regus leased 15,914 square feet in the Gateway Corporate Center Building II at 225 Wilmington West Chester Pike in Chadds Ford, PA.

The 48,342-square-foot office building was constructed in 2002, and holds current Energy Star and LEED certifications.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

75-Unit Easton PA Apartment Building Sold

by Steve Lubetkin,
Lehigh Manor, a 75-unit garden style apartment complex located in Easton, PA, has been sold for $4.715 million, approximately $63,000 per unit and more than 99 percent of the original list price.

The sellers was an undisclosed out-of-state limited liability company that had owned the property for approximately 10 years. The buyer, also a private limited liability company. The team conducted more than 10 tours and received six offers on the 2.48 acre property.

“The amount of interest we saw on this property is evidence that investors searching for yield are willing to look into secondary markets to achieve their investment goals. Due in part to its proximity to downtown Easton and major thoroughfares Routes 22 and 78, this mainly residential neighborhood has improved solidly over the years.”

Lehigh Manor, 95 percent occupied at the time of sale, is located at 600 E. Canal St. in Easton, about a mile from the “Centre Square” downtown area. The apartment community, which includes 63 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom units, received new windows, updated kitchens, and replaced roof during the seller’s ownership.

“This deal is an indicator that the market for apartment remains white hot, especially when properties are well maintained."

Industrial Real Estate Market Update (Video)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Brandywine Completes $56.5M Disposition and Refinancing

by Steve Lubetkin,
Brandywine Realty Trust completed the previously announced sale of six office properties in Mount Laurel, NJ and the refinancing of One Commerce Square in Philadelphia, PA, with a first mortgage maturing in April, 2023.

Brandywine says it completed the sale of six suburban office buildings located in Mount  Laurel totaling 560,100 square feet for $56.5 million. The exact buildings could not be immediately determined, and Brandywine did not respond to a request from for comment.

The company also refinanced its One Commerce Square property in Center City Philadelphia with a $130 million first mortgage maturing in April, 2023. The mortgage has a fixed interest rate of 3.64 percent. The previous mortgage totaled $121.2 million and was scheduled to mature in January 2016 with a fixed interest rate of 5.67 percent.

Brandywine says it received $65.8 million of net proceeds which it expects to use to fund current development commitments, reduce debt and general corporate purposes.

Mount Laurel Office Sold for $15.4M

Somerset Properties, Inc. and Greenfield Partners have sold the office building at 3001 Leadenhall Rd. in Mount Laurel, NJ to Cole Real Estate Income Strategy (Daily NAV), Inc., a private real estate investment trust, for $15.4 million, or about $190 per square foot.

The building was fully occupied at the time of purchase by Title Resources Group, which has resided there since October 2012. The three-story, 81,059-square-foot property was built in 2004 on 11 acres in the South Burlington County submarket of Philadelphia.