Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Industrial Markets in Eastern Pennsylvania Remain Tight, SIOR Summit

by Steve Lubetkin,
Industrial submarkets throughout eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey remain tight, with some vacancy rates at record lows and large pipelines of construction underway, panelists told attendees at the Philadelphia SIOR Chapter’s Industrial Property Summit at the Bear Mountain Creek Resort in this tiny rural town about 40 miles north of Philadelphia.
“We’re finally seeing some spec development in the Philadelphia suburbs which we haven’t seen in 10 years. The suburbs are full of old product with lower ceilings, and they’re getting leased up and there’s nowhere for these clients to go.”

It’s local companies driving the suburban demand, not e-commerce or big box retail, he says.
“We don’t have the land for it. So we’re seeing local companies just expanding because the economy is doing better.”

In central Pennsylvania’s I-78/I-81 corridor, the 2018 vacancy rate has been about 6.1%, and net absorption is nearly 12.5 million square feet. Central Pennsylvania’s overall vacancy is even lower, at 4.9%, with 6.438 million square feet of net absorption and about 3.5 million square feet of construction in the pipeline, he says.

Among the hottest industrial markets in the Northeast is the Lehigh Valley, which has added millions of square feet of distribution center space. Absorption in the third quarter was just under 286,000 square feet, and vacancy is about 6.7%. A solid 7.63 million square feet of industrial space are in the pipeline, he says.
“We went from a Class B market four years ago to a Class A market,” he says. “What we have is a lot of product that really presents itself well to the smaller operators. There’s a lot more of that product coming online.”

The Northeastern Pennsylvania submarket has a 3.6% vacancy rate and 4.7 million square feet under construction, according to Bob Gude, vice president of development with Kansas City, MO-based NorthPoint Development. Net absorption was low in the third quarter, just topping 129,000 square feet, he says.

In South Jersey, much of the construction has been released, says Dave Thomas of Matrix Development.

“I think the highlight is really the vacancy rate of three percent as we’re measuring it. A lot of the construction under 4 million feet has already released, so it’s a very good market for development going forward.”

Companies unable to find suitable space in the Exit 8A submarket in central New Jersey are increasingly looking further south near Exit 6 in the Bordentown/Burlington area, he says.

Alexandria Real Estate's Joel Marcus on Interest Rates Real Estate (Video)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

PREIT Strategy of Proactively Replacing Sears Stores Continuing

by Steve Lubekin
PREIT is proactively replacing Sears stores and says the project has resulted in minimal exposure to the troubled department store, down from 27 stores in 2012 to just four active stores today, when factoring in locations at lease with replacement tenants, those with non-recourse mortgage loans and one location with a significant portion of the space sub-leased by Sears to others.
Since 2017, PREIT has proactively replaced five Sears locations and has reached agreement to recapture a sixth store.  As part of its overall anchor repositioning and remerchandising strategy, PREIT has diversified the tenant roster with unique and experiential concepts to reflect the new mall model and drive traffic and sales while improving the underlying tenant credit within the portfolio.

“Just as we were proactive in disposing of lower-productivity malls, we have positioned ourselves well with minimal exposure to Sears in the event of potential material store closing event.  As we look to redefine the mall experience, we are finding great success in replacing department stores with a variety of uses and experiences in line with the interests of today’s consumer,” says Joseph F. Coradino, CEO of PREIT. “Our tireless effort to improve our portfolio continues and has laid the foundation for continued growth in traffic, sales and value for our shareholders.”
PREIT provided a list of new anchor tenants throughout its portfolio, either signed or opened, across several in-demand retail segments:

Segment                                Brand                  Property
Off-Price                                                                  Magnolia Mall
                                               Burlington          Plymouth Meeting Mall
                                               HomeGoods          Viewmont Mall
                                                                                 Magnolia Mall

                                              Five Below          Magnolia Mall
                                              HomeSense               Moorestown Mall
                                              Sierra Trading           Moorestown Mall

Entertainment                       Tilt                         Valley Mall
                                            Studio Movie Grille Willow Grove Park
Fitness                             Edge Fitness         Plymouth Meeting Mall
                                            One Life Fitness         Valley Mall
Sporting Goods                   DICK’s Sporting Goods Viewmont Mall
                                                                                   Capital City Mall
                                                                                 Plymouth Meeting Mall

                                             Field & Stream         Viewmont Mall
Department Store              Belk                          Valley Mall
                                             Von Maur                  Woodland Mall
Food and Dining              Primanti Bros Capital City Mall
                                             Fine Wine & Good Spirits Capital City Mall
                                             Whole Foods          Exton Square Mall

Monday, October 29, 2018

Zoning Disputes to Avoid as a Commercial Real Estate Investor (Video)

Silverstein Properties Turns to Financing NYC CRE Development & the Cycle (Video)

Black Creek Group Announces Logistics Center in Lehigh Valley

by Steve Lubetkin
Black Creek Group, a Denver-based real estate investment manager with a history of $18.2 billion in development and acquisitions, has begun construction on a 514,000-square-foot logistics facility in Bethlehem Township, PA. Black Creek Group chose the Brodhead Road site for the new logistics warehouse because of its strategic access to population centers up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
“The Lehigh Valley industrial market is a key logistics area within easy reach of the heavily populated Mid-Atlantic, New York Metro and New England regions,” says David Fazekas, managing director for the Eastern Region of Black Creek Group. “The Brodhead development not only offers an excellent location with visibility from Routes 22 and 191, it will also benefit from the area’s well-educated labor force.”

Brodhead Road will offer 36-foot clear height and 70-foot speed bays. This class A Industrial facility is in the heart of the Lehigh Valley, one of the largest Industrial hubs on the east coast. The property’s flexible design and multiple ingress/egress locations can easily accommodate single or multi-tenant lease-up, and project tenants will benefit from nearby access to two full interchanges of Route 22, offering speed to market and an easy commute for the Lehigh Valley’s abundant labor pool.

Onyx/PCCP Joint Venture Acquires Lehigh Valley’s Westgate Mall

by Steve Lubetkin
A joint venture between Onyx Equities and PCCP is acquiring Westgate Mall, a 270,000-square-foot enclosed mall at 2524 Schoenersville Road in the Lehigh Valley community of Bethlehem, PA.

The sale price was not disclosed, but according to the Allentown Morning Call newspaper, deeds recorded for the sale of two properties associated with the transaction totaled $30 million. The Morning Call said the former Bon-Ton store on the property sold for $20.5 million, and the 10.4-acre portion of the property that includes most of the shopping center sold for $9.5 million.

“The Lehigh Valley is one of the fastest-growing regions within the state of Pennsylvania, supported by significant job and resulting population growth. We have seen a considerable amount of both institutional and private, out-of-market capital targeting the region and retail shopping centers in particular.”

Situated on 22.6 acres adjacent to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Westgate Mall is adjacent to the intersection of Route 22 and Route 378, providing quick regional access to Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia and New York. Westgate Mall is anchored by Weis Markets, Rite Aid and Sky Zone.
“We are pleased to have finalized this acquisition and look forward to implementing Onyx’s signature, value-add strategy in partnership with PCCP,” says Stephen Sullivan, chief investment officer at Onyx Equities.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

News New Spec Industrial Getting Underway at the Bristol, PA, Commerce Center

by Steve Lubetkin,
A new 248,500 square foot speculative industrial facility will soon be under construction at Bristol Commerce Center, occupying 20 of the park’s 81 acres. The ESFR-sprinklered building is expected to ready for occupancy in the second quarter of 2019.
Additionally, the new facility will feature heights of 40-foot clear height, which is above the area market’s standard of 36-foot, positioning this facility well for warehouse/distribution and manufacturing uses.

“We have always strived to be ahead of the curve, and the 40-foot clear ceiling height is just one more added value our future tenants will appreciate and take advantage of,” says Jamie Herring, principal of Herring Properties, the developer of BCC.
Bristol Commerce Center is in a designated Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone through 2022.  The KOEZ designation provides substantial financial tax abatements to businesses looking to relocate or expand in the area. In addition to the KOEZ benefits, the park can take advantage of the newly opened interconnection of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95, just three miles away.  Current tenants include XPO Logistics, AirGas Corporation, Goodyear and PetValu.

The new construction comes as growth in e-commerce and last-mile deliveries closer to the urban inner-core are rising, but the supply of distribution center space has not kept pace—tenants are getting frustrated with the lack of available space for lease and user-owners are also faced with a lack of quality buildings to purchase.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Not all 'opportunity zones' created equal: (Video)

Carvana Places Car Vending Machine in Philadelphia

by Steve Lubetkin,
Online used car retailer Carvana, which pioneered the concept of web-based purchase of autos for direct delivery to buyers’ homes, is extending its franchise with a collection of “car vending machines” across the country that provide high visibility for the retailer’s business while engaging buyers with a novelty feel for the car delivery experience.

Carvana’s first retail location in the Delaware Valley has opened in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, adjacent to I-95 on Front Street, just south of Girard Avenue.

“The Carvana requirement is such that they wanted to be in an urban environment, where it could be seen from the highway, and also be safe and access be easy. Carvana was able to work with the neighborhood and make them feel comfortable with what they were doing. Carvana was building these vending machines in other parts of the country, so they could point to these other vending machines,” as examples of how the finished project would look.

Customers who visit can shop more than 10,000 vehicles, finance, purchase, and sell their current vehicle to Carvana in as little as 10 minutes.

Philadelphia’s Carvana car vending machine is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., free for all Carvana customers.

“There’s sort of a ceremony involved, you get a token and put it into a slot, and you see your car come down. It’s a real celebratory atmosphere, which is how it should be. They make it fun to buy a car.”

Monday, October 22, 2018

QVC, HSN to Open 1 Million-SF Fulfillment Center in Lehigh Valley

The parent company of home shopping retailers QVC and HSN networks, in consolidating the two networks’ operations, will close three fulfillment centers and open a 1 million-square-foot facility in the Lehigh Valley, a region of Pennsylvania that’s become a booming logistics hub.

Qurate Retail Group said that in order to streamline operations, it has decided to integrate the fulfillment and buying organizations of QVC, which is based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and HSN, which has its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The first phase is to open what it described as a state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in mid-to-late 2019, and to shut fulfillment centers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roanoke, Virginia; and Greeneville, Tennessee; in 2020, Qurate said in a statement.

The company will be leasing 1 million square feet at the Majestic Bethlehem Center at 3419 Commerce Center Blvd., according to Don Cunningham, president and chief executive of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. The developer of that industrial park is Majestic Realty Co., based in City of Industry, California.

Qurate's move is another step in the rapid growth of the industrial market in the Lehigh Valley, which has seen massive distribution-center construction and leasing.

"The Lehigh Valley has, the last five or six years, kind of been a major boom spot on the East Coast for the back economy of e-commerce," Cunningham said. "We now have about 125 million square feet of industrial in the two counties, and I think there’s another 5 million under construction right now."

A company can reach 40 percent of U.S. consumers within an eight-hour drive of the area, according to Cunningham.

"You’ve got land, labor and access to market," he said. "Those are the three factors that have driven this sector in the Lehigh Valley. We pretty much have now every national developer and broker in here scouring for land because it’s a good opportunity with the right factors."

Qurate site consultants met with the Lehigh Valley economic agency earlier this year about finding a location for its new fulfillment center, Cunningham said. Majestic Realty had already started constructing a speculative building that Qurate decided was suitable and opted to lease.

"The market for large-footprint fulfillment, primarily fulfillment and e-commerce driven, has been so hot in the Lehigh Valley and throughout the region that a lot of developers are doing spec buildings," Cunningham said, referring to commercial properties that begin construction without tenants lined up for the space.

The Qurate fulfillment center building is located in an industrial park built on a former brownfield, the Bethlehem Steel property, that is also home to distribution centers for Crayola and Walmart e-commerce, Cunningham said.

In its announcement, Qurate didn't specify exactly where its Bethlehem facility, which will employ 1,200 to 1,500 people, will be located. Officials at Qurate and Majestic Realty didn't return requests for comment.

With all the changes outlined in the announcement, about 2,000 employees total will lose their jobs, including 1,725 at the closed fulfillment centers. The Lancaster QVC facility at 1000 Stony Battery Rd. totals 589,000 square feet, according to CoStar records, and HSN's fulfillment center at 1 Avery Rd. totals 387,000 square feet. In addition, HSN has been leasing 515,000 square feet at a 1.1 million-square-foot facility at 1915 Snapps Ferry Rd., according to CoStar data.

Qurate also said it will close the Long Island, New York, facility of Ingenious Designs, an HSN company led by inventor Joy Mangano, whose life was the subject of a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Liberty Interactive Corp., QVC's original owner, acquired rival HSN for $2.6 billion last year, promising to cut costs by taking advantage of synergies between the two networks, which together generated $8.5 billion in revenue in 2017.

A new division was created, Qurate, to run QVC, HSN and roughly a half dozen other retail companies. Now Qurate is combining the domestic HSN and QVC networks into a new business unit called QXH, "while still maintaining the unique identity of each brand," Qurate said in its statement.

Once completed, the integrated QVC-HSN fulfillment network "is expected to increase average delivery speeds to customers by two days, enable more items to be consolidated into single shipments to improve customer convenience, and deliver significant savings in freight and fixed costs," Qurate said.

The company also said it "will evolve toward a leased-versus-owned model for many of its fulfillment facilities, to increase flexibility and reduce longer term capital requirements."

Qurate will have a $200 million, "one-time net capital investment through 2022 for new fulfillment centers, automation, and technology investments, net of anticipated proceeds from [the] sale of existing facilities," according to its statement.

Qurate currently operates four HSN and five QVC fulfillment centers in the U.S., with many of them "dedicated to specific categories, such as hard goods or apparel," the company said.

The new strategy is to combine and integrate HSN and QVC fulfillment centers so that they carry "the full product assortments of both brands, in order to combine shipments to the customer and lower operating expenses," according to Qurate.

For example, the new facility in Bethlehem will handle both QVC and HSN products across multiple product types, and fulfill roughly 25 percent of total network volume, Qurate said.

Qurate projected that its incremental annual leasing costs will rise to $20 million in 2022 from $10 million in 2019 because of the shift from owned to leased fulfillment centers.

HSN's headquarters at 1 HSN Dr. in St. Petersburg will remain open, according to Qurate. But there will be 350 non-fulfillment-center layoffs, and the majority of them will be employees in St. Petersburg, the company said.

Opportunity Zone Strategies (Video)

Equus Acquires Five Tower Bridge in Conshohocken

by Steve Lubetkin,
Equus Capital Partners has acquired Five Tower Bridge, a trophy office development in the West Conshohocken submarket of Philadelphia, for $75.65 million from local developer and investor MIM-Hayden Real Estate Fund I.

The purchase includes an existing eight-story, 222,058-square-foot class A office building located at 300 Barr Harbor Drive.
 $48 million financing package was arranged a for the buyer through Metlife.

“This building is widely considered to be the premier office tower in the suburbs and has the added attraction of offering the value-add opportunity to develop an additional building in a prime riverfront location within one of the most desirable submarkets in the region."

Five Tower Bridge was built in 2001 and is sited in a transit-oriented, live-work-play market with excellent access to the region’s major roadways. The property is just a 25-minute drive from Center City.

Why you should invest in REITs (Video)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Capitol Investment CEO: Opportunity zone (Video)

Capitol Investment CEO: Opportunity zone investments could transform low-income communities from CNBC.

Treasury proposes rules meant to spur investment in low-income areas from CNBC.

Techni-Tool Renews Industrial Lease in Norristown, Pennsylvania

Techni-Tool, a local distributor of equipment for electronic production, assembly and repair, renewed its 120,000-square-foot lease at T-Squared Realty’s single-tenant warehouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

The two-story building at 1547 N. Trooper Road comprises six loading docks, 40- by 40-foot column spacing and a 25-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 2000, the Class B building spans nearly 26 acres less than 25 miles from downtown Philadelphia.

WuXi AppTec Getting Third Build-to-Suit Lab at Philadelphia Navy Yard

by Steve Lubetkin,
Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners will begin construction early next month on a 95,000 square foot build-­‐to-­‐suit office and laboratory building for WuXi AppTec’s Advanced Therapies Business Unit at the Navy Yard. The new facility, at 400 Rouse Boulevard, designed to achieve LEED® certification, will be WuXi ATU’s fourth building at the Navy Yard and the third build-­‐to-­‐suit developed by Liberty for the company. When the new building is completed in late 2019, WuXi ATU will become Liberty’s largest tenant in the campus, occupying more than 380,000 square feet of space.

“WuXi was one of the first companies to locate to the Navy Yard more than fourteen years ago and throughout that time, our strong partnership will have produced four cutting-­‐edge facilities,” says Brian Cohen, vice president and market officer for Liberty Property Trust. “Their continued success has helped to pave the way for creating one of the most highly concentrated clusters of privately leased life science space in Philadelphia. With their fourth building soon to be underway, WuXi ATU’s growth offers an excellent example of the Navy Yard’s appeal to leading-­‐edge companies and its unique ability to attract and retain knowledgeable workers as well as accommodate long-­‐term business expansion.”
“The market demands for testing are increasing very quickly in advanced therapies. WuXi will more than double our testing capacity to support our cell and gene therapy clients,” says Felix Hsu, senior vice president and global head of advanced therapies. “WuXi’s facility in the Navy Yard has grown from one to a campus of four buildings, and employment here has increased from 150 people to more than 600 people and growing.”

The new building at 400 Rouse Boulevard, designed by DIGSAU, anchors the central intersection of Rouse and League Island Boulevards. Spanning longer than a city block, it will feature ripples of concrete and glass, creating a vibrant, animated urban façade. Expertly crafted wood elements will adorn vital points of entry creating a warmth and detail that contrasts the solidity and scale of the 95,000 square-­‐ foot structure. WuXi Advanced Therapies was represented in the transaction by Kyle Greiert and Greg Soffian from Savills Studley.
“WuXi’s continued growth in Philadelphia at the Navy Yard reinforces the city’s standing as one of the nation’s leading innovation hubs,” says Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “We congratulate WuXi on this announcement of its fourth cutting-­‐edge facility at the Navy Yard, and look forward to the creation of additional highly-­‐skilled, high-­‐paying jobs in Philadelphia.”

In addition to the new facility, WuXi Advanced Therapies occupies three other Liberty buildings at the Navy Yard, 82,000 square feet housing its early phase clinical manufacturing and testing operations at 4751 League Island Boulevard, occupied in 2004. In 2014, WuXi ATU expanded into 55,000 square feet at 4000 S. 26th Street to accommodate the growing demand for non-­‐viral cell therapy manufacturing. Two years later, Liberty finished its second build-­‐to-­‐suit for the company, a 150,000 square foot facility located at 4701 League Island Boulevard, one of the largest facilities in the world for the GMP manufacturing of viral vectors, which provides late phase/commercial capacity.

“Philadelphia is one of the most dynamic life sciences and healthcare industry centers in the nation. As one of the first tenants within the Navy Yard’s community of R&D enterprises, WuXi AppTec has long been at the forefront of innovation in Philadelphia,” says John Grady, president of PIDC. “The Navy Yard offers WuXi a unique environment to support the growth its company, and is a place where their employees thrive. We are thrilled to celebrate WuXi’s success with the groundbreaking of this new building.”

The Navy Yard is home to one of the highest concentration of privately leased life science space in the city of Philadelphia with more than 800,000 square feet. The tenants span a wide variety of specialties including a large cluster of leading-­‐edge companies like WuXi Advanced Therapies, devoted to cell and gene therapy. As a result, the Navy Yard is a hub for attracting top talent in the life sciences fields with more than 2,500 employees in this sector working on the campus. The diversity among these companies encompasses large corporate offices (Glaxo Smith Kline), established and emerging companies (WuXi AppTec, Iroko Pharmaceuticals, Adaptimmune and Coriell Life Sciences), educational institutions (Vincera Institute, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals), and related capital ventures (Phoenix IP Ventures and Ben Franklin Technology Partners) among others.

The Navy Yard is considered the most successful redevelopment of a former military facility in the country. A thriving riverfront neighborhood, the Navy Yard currently features more than 7.5 million square feet of buildings housing more than 13,500 employees working at over 150 companies. Home to historic structures and new high-­‐performance and LEED certified development, the Navy Yard offers diverse, flexible building choices with varying heights, vintages, and floorplates, all powered by a nationally-­‐recognized microgrid and oriented around miles of riverfront access and world-­‐class open space. Future growth will support up to 10 million square feet of commercial and residential development. PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-­‐private economic development corporation, is the master developeroftheNavyYard.

Liberty is the master private developer at the Navy Yard and currently owns fifteen buildings totaling   more than 1.4 million square feet. Most of its properties reside in the Navy Yard Corporate Center, a master planned section of the urban campus featuring state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art, sustainable multi-­‐ tenant and build-­‐to-­‐suit office and commercial space owned and developed by Liberty Property/Synterra, a joint venture between Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners. During the last fifteen years, Liberty has developed twelve properties in the Navy Yard Corporate Center for an investment of approximately $273 million. Liberty also has developed five other buildings outside the Corporate Center representing an additional investment of $119 million.

Retail Real Estate Opportunities and Strategies (Video)

Retail Real Estate Video Strategies

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Liberty Property Trust Breaks Ground on 441,380 SF Industrial Facility in New Jersey

Liberty Property Trust has broken ground on a 441,380-square-foot industrial facility in Burlington. Located at 160-180 Dulty’s Lane, the project will feature 36-foot clear heights, 54-foot by 55-foot column spacing, 88 dock doors, space for 105 trailers and 330 parking spaces. The facility, which Dishner Architects is designing, is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2019. The general contractor is Blue Rock Construction.

Economy's Effect on Real Estate (Video)

Reinventing how real estate investing works (VIdeo)

I can find office space for lease online. Do I Need a Broker? (Video)

Retail Real Estate Sector Technology Update (Video)

Which Commercial Real Estate Sector Wins? (Video)

Headwinds or Tailwinds for Commercial Real Estate? (Video)

Monthly Economic Outlook — October 2018 (Video)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Local Investment Firm Sells 129,000-SF Suburban Philadelphia Shopping Center

Context Capital Partners, a local investment firm, sold a 128,544-square-foot shopping center in Warminster, Pennsylvania, to a private investor. Warminster Plaza sold for an undisclosed price.

The 4-Star center at 606 York Road was built in 1979 and renovated in 2004, spanning nearly 13 acres less than 12 miles from Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The property is leased to SMG SportsPlex at Warminster, AAA, Lee’s Hoagie House, YMCA of Buck’s County, Kid’s First Swim Schools, Pearle Vision Center and Grand Buffett.

“Investor demand for infill community and neighborhood shopping centers such as Warminster Plaza remains strong. Retail assets offer competitive risk-adjusted returns in today’s commercial real estate climate, and more capital is entering the space as we continue to see improving retail fundamentals in occupancy levels, rental rates and tenant demand,” said Chris Munley, a managing director at HFF, in a statement.

Equus Acquires 300K SF Class A Malvern Office Building

by Steve Lubetkin,
An affiliate of Equus Capital Partners has acquired 1400 Atwater Drive, a 299,809 square foot class A office building in Malvern, PA. The acquisition was made on behalf of Equus Investment Partnership XI, a targeted $350 million discretionary equity fund managed by Equus that opened for investment in July 2018.
The sale price was not disclosed. The property last changed hands in February 2013, when Chambers Street Properties acquired it from Trammell Crow Co. for $84.8 million, according to Real Capital Analytics, a proprietary research database that follows commercial real estate transactions.

“We are excited to add 1400 Atwater to our growing presence in Philadelphia’s dynamic Western Suburban marketplace,” says George Haines, vice president of Equus Capital Partners who, along with Tim Feron and Joe Felici, oversaw the acquisition for the firm. “The Route 29 corridor has transformed over the past few years and is now an active live-work-play environment. The acquisition of this trophy quality property provides us with strong cash flow in a submarket poised for further growth.”
1400 Atwater is one of the most accessible office complexes in Philadelphia’s western suburbs, located at the interchange of Route 29 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The property was developed in 2013 as a build-to-suit for Endo Pharmaceuticals, a $3.5 billion multi-national pharmaceutical company.  Situated on 24.84 acres, the LEED Silver trophy asset features a granite and concrete façade, 10-foot finished ceiling heights, on-site structured parking at a ratio of four per 1,000 square-feet, expansive lakefront views, efficient floor plates, and numerous on-site amenities including a full-service cafeteria, fitness center, coffee bar, training rooms, and a data center.

Malvern, which is home to a growing number of large corporate users, has seen vacancy decline drastically since 2012 due in part to organic growth within the market, and the attractive mixed-use environment that has developed there recently. The property is adjacent to the newly-delivered Atwater Village, a 300-acre master-planned development that includes 30,000 square-feet of retail and 875 new rental and for-sale residential units. Additionally, the Route 29 corridor has experienced a wave of newly delivered amenities, including Charlestown Village, the Wegmans-anchored Uptown at Worthington, new hotels, and a mix of new restaurants.

What are the first steps when considering real estate options for my business? (Video)

Buying vs. Leasing a Commercial Property (Video)

Office Space Strategies (Video)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Rockefeller/PCCP JV Building 1.3M SF Distribution Hub in Allen Township, PA

by Steve Lubetkin,
Rockefeller Group and joint venture partner PCCP are building the first of a two-building, 1.3-million-square foot distribution center in Allen Township, PA. Construction has commenced on a one-million-square-foot building at Rockefeller Group Logistics Park, with construction for a second 290,788-square-foot building expected to begin later this year.  Both buildings are expected to completed by summer 2019.
”Rockefeller Group is excited to begin construction on Rockefeller Group Logistics Park as we expand our industrial development portfolio to Pennsylvania,” says Brandi Hanback, executive vice president and head of industrial development for Rockefeller Group. “The Lehigh Valley has emerged as a new source for companies with large space requirements that also benefit from proximity to the region’s major consumer bases.”

Rockefeller Group Logistics Park is two miles from Lehigh Valley International Airport, which offers both air cargo and passenger service, and is three miles from Route 22, offering toll-free access to Port Newark/Elizabeth via Interstate 78. The site is located within a day’s drive to one-third of all US consumers and one-half of all Canadian consumers. One of the largest logistics hubs in the US is adjacent to the property.
“In addition to its exceptional location, Rockefeller Group Logistics Park will comprise next-generation industrial product that is being built to accommodate the advanced needs and rapid growth of today’s users,” says Johanna Chervak, director of real estate development for Rockefeller Group’s NJ/PA Region.  “We expect these speculative distribution buildings to attract e-commerce companies looking to reach consumers in a timely manner and we are already beginning to see interest, even before walls are tilted.”

“Rockefeller Group Logistics Park sits within one of the fastest-growing areas of Pennsylvania, surrounded by a robust and diverse labor pool, as well as amenity-rich communities. For some industrial users, the New Jersey market is not as viable due to high pricing and limited space. The Lehigh Valley offers these companies an ideal alternative with a similar quality of development, location, and labor access.”

The first building will include a 40-foot clear height, 509 car parking spaces, 179 loading cross loading dock doors, and 349 trailer parking spaces. The 290,788-square-foot building features a 36-foot clear height, 241 car parking spaces 38 dock doors, and 55 trailer parking spaces.

Resmark Leading JV to Develop Manayunk Multifamily Project

by Steve Lubetkin,
The Resmark Companies is leading a joint venture development investment with The Concordia Group and D3 Real Estate Development to create a waterfront townhome community in the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Construction is currently underway at The Locks, a collection of 63 waterfront residences, each with views of the Manayunk Canal, the Schuylkill River or both.

“Resmark is excited to continue our partnership with Concordia and D3 on another dynamic project in the city,” says Alexandra Johns, senior vice president, investments, Resmark Land and Housing. “Like Southwark on Reed, our first investment together, The Locks interacts with the local architecture and land plan to create an exceptional sense of place, and an exciting homeownership opportunity.”
Located between the canal and river, The Locks’ 63 waterfront residences will have open floor plans, incomparable views and generous rooftop terraces. The homes will range in size from 2,100 square feet to 3,500 square feet and are sited in a landscaped setting with a new riverfront trail along the Schuylkill River.  The community’s industrial architectural design by the Philadelphia firm of Varenhorst Architects pays tribute to Manayunk’s rich heritage.
“We’re pleased to partner with D3 and Resmark to create a project that adds to the vibrant atmosphere of Main Street and Downtown Manayunk,” says Will Collins, managing principal of The Concordia Group.

“Our team is executing a compelling vision that combines exciting contemporary home designs with well-planned common spaces that enhance the authenticity and charm of one of Philadelphia’s most unique neighborhoods,” says Greg Hill, managing partner of D3.

The Locks residents will enjoy the small town feel of Manayunk while living only six miles from Center City.  Named a National Historic District in 1983, Manayunk’s classic Main Street offers gourmet restaurants, boutique upscale shops, and seasonal street fairs, creating a walkable environment within steps of The Locks.  The Locks provides an authentic urban experience that encourages walking and biking and is near the new Performing Arts and Recreation Center. It is a short walk to the SEPTA station with direct service to downtown Philadelphia or is easily accessible to I-76.

This is the second Philadelphia community developed by Resmark, D3 and Concordia. The trio came together in 2015 to develop Southwark on Reed, a community of 91 single family attached townhomes at 400 Reed Street, formerly the site of the Mt. Sinai Hospital, which was the fastest-selling luxury townhouse project in Philadelphia.

The Locks continues Resmark’s investment in infill residential developments in walkable neighborhoods that benefit from thriving employment centers, abundant public transportation and desirable retail, service and recreational offerings.

Monday, October 8, 2018

JPMorgan says to buy this REIT (Video)

Kensington's Inevitable Development Boom Is Beginning

Northern Liberties is well into the infill phase of its development, and Fishtown has grown from hipster enclave to white-hot commercial corridor with skyrocketing home prices. It is no surprise, then, that development is continuing farther north along the Market-Frankford Line.

For those outside the development community, Kensington is perhaps best known right now for its place at the center of Philadelphia's opioid crisis. The still-pervasive sights of addicts on the street and needles on the ground are not viewed as a danger on the level of violent crime, which is a key distinction for developers such as The Riverwards Group. “Most interested people know of [the opioid issue], they’re aware of what’s there,” said The Somers Team Realtor Julie Hankins, leasing agent for the Rivewards Group. "But they know that the more involvement they have with the community, and the more routine [new move-ins] become, it’ll move out."

The lure of the Frankford Avenue corridor and the scarcity of land in Fishtown has driven home and rental prices through the roof there and, at least in the case of rentals, Kensington as well. The combination of rising rents and the anticipation of long-term growth has led most developers in the area to focus on for-sale townhouses and condos in their developments. Riverwards Group principal Mo Rushdy noted that while rents have risen to the point where "you can’t get anything respectable for less than $1K/month," the available housing inventory in Philadelphia dropped by 26% in the 12-month period ending in this year's second quarter. Despite the constraint on supply, home prices have remained reasonable in Kensington thanks to the availability of land, Rushdy said.

 “A single-family home in Kensington can be $369K with a 3% or 4% interest rate, so the obstacle is the $25K at closing, which is a real obstacle," Rushdy said. "But the monthly mortgage is about $1,500 per month, since the abatement takes care of the taxes.” In South Kensington, the area that sits north of Girard Avenue and west of Frankford Avenue, the Riverwards Group has begun construction on N5 Square, a 57-unit development made up of single-family townhouses, townhouses split into multiple condos and condo units sitting atop ground-floor retail at Fifth Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. The cheapest units are selling for $250K, and they are selling — the first phase is 50% sold before construction is complete. Hankins and Rushdy both told Bisnow that incoming residents have targeted for-sale units as a safe way to build long-term value in a neighborhood that seems assured to grow for years to come. “Our buyer is on average 32 or 33 years old, making $85K per year with a household of 1.5 people, single-income or double-income with no kids,” Rushdy said. The relative lack of children is notable, according to Rushdy, because it makes new residents less alarmist about the persistent presence of opioid addicts rendered permanently or temporarily homeless in the area. The opioid crisis and related homelessness has gotten so bad that Mayor Jim Kenney declared a state of emergency in Kensington in the first week of October.

AREP Acquires Conshohocken's Eight Tower Bridge

Washington, DC-based American Real Estate Partners, which owns and operates class A office assets throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including 1600 Market Street in Center City Philadelphia, is acquiring Eight Tower Bridge, a 16-story, 347,000 square-foot trophy office tower in Conshohocken, PA, west of Philadelphia.
“With assets located in what are arguably the best submarket in each of Center City and Philadelphia’s suburbs, AREP is excited by its expanding platform in the area and actively working on additional acquisitions to complement its growing portfolio in the market,” says Paul Schulman, AREP principal and chief operating officer.

According to Real Capital Analytics, a proprietary research database, the property is being acquired from a joint venture of Conshohocken-based Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corp. and Barings, a Charlotte, NC-based global asset management firm. AREP says the buyer is an affiliate of AREP’s Strategic Office Fund II, a fully discretionary vehicle, in a joint venture with a single institutional investor that it did not identify.
“In Eight Tower Bridge, we have acquired a best-in-class asset in the very healthy Conshohocken submarket,” says Michael Gribbon, AREP principal and executive managing director. “The supply and demand dynamics of Conshohocken continue to improve, and the tenant community continues to favor this market due to its great rail access, its walkable amenities and its proximity to Philadelphia’s most coveted bedroom communities.”

Eight Tower Bridge represents AREP’s second acquisition this year in the Philadelphia MSA, having previously acquired 1600 Market Street, an 826,000 square-foot high-rise at the epicenter of Center City’s desirable Market West submarket. These acquisitions represent a re-entry into Philadelphia for AREP, as the firm was a prior owner of Two Liberty Place, the iconic class AA 1.25 million square-foot office and condo tower located adjacent to its 1600 Market Street property.

Eight Tower Bridge’s location directly adjacent to the SEPTA Regional Rail line, as well as the key intersection of Interstates 76 and 476, offering swift connections to Center City Philadelphia, Philadelphia International Airport, and the affluent Main Line suburbs.
The property is surrounded by Conshohocken’s dynamic and thriving environment, which includes an abundance of institutionally owned office assets, retail amenities within easy walking distance, premier residential communities, and two hotels. Designed by world-renowned architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Eight Tower Bridge stands as the tallest office building in suburban Philadelphia, boasting a high-quality physical infrastructure, superior views, and attractive finishes within a scenic setting on a premier 45-acre mixed-use development overlooking the Schuylkill River.

AREP has planned dynamic property enhancements designed to activate the lobby with curated food options, the addition of AREP’s branded social and tenant lounge spaces, and a significantly enhanced fitness center. Presently, Eight Tower Bridge is 86%-leased to a well-diversified tenant roster that represents a cross-section of industries.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

New Mt. Airy Nexus Coworking Site Opens Up

 By Roberto Torres Technically Philly
John Autin, a Mt. Airy resident, stepped away from teaching at Philly public schools and joined a new coworking spot  spot five minutes away from his house.

“I got tired of taking the grading home,” said Autin, a father of two. He’s not a member, though: Autin now spends his days as community manager at Mt. Airy Nexus, a 7,000-square-foot coworking space that opened in August.

The place was founded by the same team that runs Center City’s CityCoHo, at 2401 Walnut St. A 10-minute walk to the Carpenter stop on SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West line, the sustainability-minded space says it has signed on about 10 members, including a few tech firms like Braintree, Gei Consultants and Amplify.

Ernesto Tagwerker, founder of Indy Hall-based software company Ombu Labs, said he’s based out of the new space once a week.

“I love the community of Indy Hall, but [Mt. Airy Nexus] is super close to me,” the founder said.
Full story:

Auto Lending Tech Firm Takes 26K SF Lease in King of Prussia Office

by Steve Lubetkin
Sagent Lending Technologies, which develops automotive, mortgage, and consumer loan servicing and origination technology, signed a new, 26,588-square-foot lease at 1000 Continental in King of Prussia, PA. The property is owned by KBS, a non-traded real estate investment trust based in Newport Beach, CA.

“1000 Continental is an ideal place for tenants to attract talent and customers from across the region. The East Swedesford Road Corridor has blossomed into a true live-work-play environment,” says Shannon Hill, senior vice president for KBS and asset manager for the property. “Sagent Lending Technologies is poised for success at the property, and we look forward to working with them.”

The office property is a class A, award-winning building that is Wired Certified through WiredScore for meeting the highest standards of technological superiority in connectivity and infrastructure. The structure provides 205,424 square feet of total rentable space and 45-foot column spacing. The property is also equipped with a fitness center, gourmet café, tenant lounge, on-site security and covered parking.

Located at the intersection of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-76 in King of Prussia, 1000 Continental provides direct access to and from both highways. The property is also convenient to the King of Prussia Town Center and Wegmans, and offers transportation through the SEPTA bus service.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

REIT Market Minute (Video)

Is commercial real estate a good investment at this point in the cycle? (Video)

Chan and Chan USA Renovating, Expanding New Lehigh Valley Location

by Steve Lubetkin,
J.G. Petrucci has partnered with Chan and Chan (USA), a Brooklyn based manufacturer of frozen Chinese food, to complete significant renovations at the company’s newly purchased facility in Bethlehem, PA. The new facility will enable the firm to enhance its food production capabilities and increase its distribution radius.

“Chan and Chan USA is one of the many food manufacturing and distribution firms that are taking advantage of the fantastic resources the Lehigh Valley provides,” says Jim Petrucci, founder and president of J.G. Petrucci Co. “This new central location will allow them to access nearly 40% of the United States population within a day’s drive.”

Chan and Chan USA will revitalize two vacant buildings located at 2320 Avenue A in Bethlehem. The first building, which is slated to be operational by October 2018, will be constructed to USDA and GFSI processing standards. It will feature 8,000 square feet of new freezer and cooler storage for Chan & Chan’s products. The renovations include installing new insulated metal panels, refrigeration equipment, new freezer slab and more.

Phase 2 of the project, which is currently in design, will include the renovation of a 72,000 square foot building, which will serve as Chan & Chan’s processing facility. J.G. Petrucci is working closely with Chan and Chan (USA) to design a facility that will accommodate the company’s current real estate need and strategically plan for its future growth.

“J.G. Petrucci brought a unique blend of experience to this project and we value the insight they provided when designing this facility,” says Albert Chan. “They utilized their experience in designing and building USDA compliant facilities to create plans for a flexible plant that will allow us to grow our business in the Lehigh Valley.”

Chan & Chan says the new operation will create approximately 75 new jobs upon completion.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Black Creek Group Breaks Ground on 514,000-SF Logistics Facility in Bethlehem, PA

Denver-based Black Creek Group, an investment management and development firm, broke ground on Brodhead Road, a 514,000-square-foot speculative logistics facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Plans for the single-story structure at 2858 Brodhead Road call for 55 loading docks, four drive-in bays, 50- by 56-foot column spacing and a 36-foot clear ceiling height.

“The Lehigh Valley industrial market is a key logistics area within easy reach of the heavily populated Mid-Atlantic, New York Metropolitan and New England regions. The Brodhead development not only offers an excellent location with visibility from Routes 22 and 191, it will also benefit from the area’s well-educated labor force,” said David Fazekas, managing director of Black Creek Group, in a statement.

Black Creek Group has bought or built approximately $18 billion of investments over its 25-year history, according to its website.

The project, which spans north of 37 acres, is slated to deliver by the second quarter of 2019.

Ryder Logistics Leases and UPS Renews in Gloucester County, NJ

by Steve Lubetkin
Ryder Logistics signed 80,750-square-foot lease at 395 Pedricktown Road in Logan Township, while  UPS renewed 251,044-square-foot lease at 200 Birch Creek Road in Swedesboro.
The recent transactions exemplify the continued demand for distribution and logistics space in Southern New Jersey’s rapidly growing industrial market.

“The Gloucester County submarket has certainly emerged as a regional distribution hub, which has benefitted from both the overall growth of Philadelphia as well as the recent expansion of the PhilaPort,” Gartland says.  ”This submarket also has a tremendous labor pool to pull from, which continues to be a topic at the forefront of our business.”
 Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management – US, a large institutional owner, in the Ryder Logistics transaction. Deutsche AWM has known interests in 1,223 assets that have an estimated property value of $34.5 billion.

Strategically located at Exit 10 off Interstate 295 and Exit 2 of the New Jersey Turnpike, 395 Pedricktown Road is a 481,758-square-foot, class A warehouse built in 2017. Deutsche AWM acquired the property from Dermody Properties in April 2018 for $53.8 million, or $112 per square foot, according to Real Capital Analytics.

Situated at the mid-point between New York City and Washington, DC, the building provides exceptional access to the entire Northeast transportation corridor and is within a one-day drive of 40 percent of the total US population.
“Like many regional distribution markets, Southern New Jersey continues to see growth in the third-party logistics vertical. This deal is yet another example of this ongoing trend. The UPS lease renewal is a strong indication of its commitment to this market. As markets to the North continue to tighten, we now are starting to see a lot of that pent-up demand funnel south down the Turnpike and Route 295 into Southern New Jersey.”

The 597,232-square-foot warehouse/distribution facility is located at Exit 10 at Interstate-295, in the heart of the country’s richest consumer demographic and with easy accessibility to the region’s deep-water ports and transportation infrastructure. PEI acquired the property in November 2015 from a joint venture of Hillwood and Brookfield Asset Management for $34.2 million, says Real Capital Analytics.

Preferred Apartment Communities Sells Glenmoore, PA MF for $42.5M

by Steve Lubetkin,
Atlanta-based Preferred Apartment Communities has sold Stone Rise, a class A multifamily community built in 2008, and located at 900 Selwyn Place, Glenmoore, PA, about 40 miles west of Philadelphia, PA.
Stone Rise consists of one and two bedroom garden apartment homes, a resort-style pool, 24 hour internet café and fitness center. The property also has a car-care center and a “bark park” for pets.

PAC sold Stone Rise for gross proceeds of approximately $42.5 million, the net proceeds of which will be used for working capital purposes including reducing the outstanding balance under its revolving line of credit facility, acquisitions, real estate loan investments and general corporate purposes. 
The property achieved an average annualized return of approximately 23% and generated a gain on sale of approximately $12.4 million.

“The financial results generated from the sale of Stone Rise, a property purchased by PAC in 2011, demonstrates our ability to execute and deliver outstanding returns to our stockholders,” says John A. Isakson, executive vice president and chief financial officer for PAC. “We remain committed to a disciplined strategy of carefully allocating capital to accretive investments, optimizing the operations of our owned assets and, when appropriate, opportunistically divesting certain assets in an effort to produce the best possible returns for our stockholders.”

Should I enter into an exclusive Tenant rep agreement with a commercial real estate broker? (Video)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Clark Hill signs lease at Two Commerce Square

By Natalie Kostelni  – Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal
When Clark Hill entered Philadelphia five years ago with the acquisition of Thorp Reed & Armstrong, it inherited the law firm’s 21,000-square-offices at One Commerce Square, and it wasn't long after that it found the space would not accommodate its plans for future growth.

Thorp Reed had 12 attorneys in its Center City office at the time of the merger and now Clark Hill has grown 21 lawyers in an office that can accommodate 25. The firm wants to have up to 50 attorneys within five years. With that in mind and its lease expiring in September 2019, the firm started nine months ago to look for new office space. 

“We looked everywhere,” said Lauri Kavulich, who is in charge of Clark Hill’s Philadelphia office.

The firm was focused on Philadelphia and looked at 15 spaces along the West Market Street corridor.

It also considered three locations in University City –– Schuylkill Yards, but it wouldn’t be built in time; FMC Tower at Cira Centre South, which was full; and Cira Centre, which didn’t have enough space. The option to stay in its existing space and expand didn't work either since two adjacent tenants were going to be remaining in their space for some time. 

Along with having room to grow, the firm wanted to find a space that would be close to the courthouses and City Hal,l as well as have it designed more efficiently. In the end, it didn’t have to look far for what it wanted. The firm signed a lease on 34,000 square feet on a floor and a half of Two Commerce Square.

“Once of the reasons we chose Commerce Square is it is close to Amtrak as well,” Kavulich said. “We have clients up and down the corridor. We also have Washington, D.C., office.”
Full story:

Philadelphia's Independence Hall Office Market Heating Up

Early signs may be surfacing of a resurgence in Independence Hall’s office market in Philadelphia.

Throughout 2015 and 2017 Independence Hall was an outlier with noticeably higher vacancies than other submarkets in and around Philadelphia’s central business district (CBD) such as Market Street West and University City. These higher vacancies were caused by move outs by both government and private sector tenants including the U.S. Navy, the GSA and Dow Chemical.

Independence Hall’s concentration of older office buildings and its distance from key center city regional rail stations are potential drawbacks from many office tenants’ perspective. However, a slew of office renovations, restaurant/bar openings and high-end residential construction are now coalescing in what was once a relatively sleepy submarket.

Since 2014, Keystone Property Group has re-energized the ground floor of 100 Independence by bringing Independence Beer Garden -- which includes outdoor seating and a gaming area -- and modernist café La Colombe. One block away, MRP Realty’s newly-renovated Bourse -- previously home to the nation’s first commodity exchange -- is reopening this fall with an impressive array of new dining and drinking options on the ground floor. Coworking operator MakeOffices also recently leased 35,000 square feet on the property’s 5th floor.

More than 850 new, high-end apartment units have either completed or broken ground in the Independence Hall submarket over the past five years. Parkway Corporation recently completed its Civic Design review for a proposed 278-unit apartment tower at 709 Chestnut. Toll Brothers is also planning an 85-unit condo development on the 700 block of Sansom Street.

These improvements to Independence Hall’s ambience and amenity offerings are beginning to bear fruit for office owners. A handful of large leases including Macquaire Investment Management, FiveBelow and a few coworking operators have been signed in recent years. These leases, combined with conversions of older office space into apartments, have helped bring Independence Hall’s office space availability rate -- the percentage of space being marketed for lease -- back in line with other Center City submarkets in 2018.

Given Independence Hall’s complete lack of new office construction, the submarket’s availability rate has nowhere to go but further down as long as tenants’ interest in the area continues to rebound. It will be interesting to see just how much more tenant interest Independence Hall can garner in the years ahead.

Maguire Hayden Real Estate Paying $32 Million for Collegeville, PA Office Portfolio

by Steve Lubetkin
Maguire Hayden Real Estate Company is acquiring Highview I & II (200 and 400 Campus Drive) in Collegeville, PA, from TA Realty. Maguire Hayden paid $32 million for the 183,363-square-foot, class A office portfolio.

“The portfolio represented an excellent opportunity to acquire class A, institutional-quality suburban office product offering stable, current yield and prominent credit tenancy in a superb, accessible location."

The two buildings, which are currently 93%-leased, are home to anchor tenants IQVIA, Fidelity Information Services and FirstService Residential. Highview I, located at 400 Campus Drive, totals 78,564 square feet and contains three floors. Highview II, located at 200 Campus Drive, totals 104,799 square feet over four floors.
The properties are near US Route 422, PA Route 29 and other regional roadways. Nearby arterial connections include I-76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and US Route 202, providing accessibility to population centers within the Philadelphia MSA, including the Philadelphia CBD.

In addition, tenants benefit from a variety of amenities nearby, including Providence Town Center, King of Prussia Mall, Philadelphia Premium Outlets, as well as numerous hotels, restaurants, parks and entertainment facilities, such as the Valley Forge Casino Resort.