Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Liberty Property Trust to relocate HQ to Wayne, launches $12M redevelopment of building

By Natalie Kostelni  –  Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal

For Liberty Property Trust, after more than four decades, it’s time to move on from Great Valley.

A planned move to a modern headquarters in Wayne comes as the company plans to shed its remaining office properties in the Great Valley Corporate Center it established. Liberty has essentially completed transforming itself into an industrial real estate investment trust with a smattering of urban holdings.

“The company has pretty significantly changed over the years,” said Bill Hankowsky, CEO of Liberty.

Though its roots lie in developing industrial space in South Jersey, Liberty has long been associated with Great Valley after its predecessor company, Rouse and Associates, established the place name for the area along the Route 202 Corridor in Malvern in 1974 and went onto build a business primarily based on suburban office properties. In the years since, Liberty has evolved.

It took on urban development. It doubled down on industrial space. It moved on from owning suburban office space and is now a $9 billion real estate company with 100 million square feet of space across the United States and United Kingdom.

“With all that, we questioned where should we house ourselves going forward?,” Hankowsky said. “This company has always been moving forward and thinking about the next place we should be whether it’s a new market, the right balance of product mix...this is a natural logical extension of that process.” 

The company has decided to relocate its headquarters to 650 E. Swedesford Road, a four-story building totaling 100,000 square feet in Wayne, Pa. It’s a building Liberty owns and was substantially vacant as a result of the departure of a tenant. The company has launched a $12 million redevelopment of the property and will house its operations on the fourth floor, which totals 25,000 square feet. Two other tenants occupy space in property and a floor remains vacant.

“The location has that Wayne-King of Prussia, live-work-play characteristic that is analogous to what we have done at the Navy Yard and we decided to take that skill set and apply that to a building we own,” Hankowsky said. 
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