Monday, May 20, 2019

Key Issues to Know as REITs Adopt New Leasing Standard (Video)

REITs Must Stay on Top of Post-Tax Reform Governmental Guidance, Tax Expert Says

Self Storage Update with Reis (Video)

Brixmor Buys Plymouth Square for $56 Million

New York-based real estate investment trust Brixmor Property Group purchased a shopping center in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, from Signature Financial Corp. for $56 million, or about $210 per square foot.

The 266,113-square-foot center, dubbed Plymouth Square, is 70% leased to major tenants including Weis, REI, Rite Aid and Marshalls. Spanning 16.5 acres, the Class B property at 108-200 W. Ridge Pike and 1920 Butler Pike is less than 15 miles from downtown Philadelphia.

Apex Financial Snaps Up Lippincott Centre for $32 Million

Yardley, Pennsylvania-based Apex Financial Advisors purchased two office buildings in Marlton, New Jersey, from Grandview Property Partners for $32 million, or about $193 per square foot.

The Class B buildings, dubbed Lippincott Centre, at 301-303 Lippincott Drive total 165,742 square feet. Built in 1988, the four-story structures span north of 14 acres less than 15 miles from downtown Philadelphia.

The fully leased buildings house Virtua Health Inc.'s headquarters. Additional tenants include accounting firm Friedman and Morgan Stanley.

AutoZone Signs Large Lease in Tamaqua, PA

AutoZone, a retailer of aftermarket automotive parts and accessories, leased 86,000 square feet at MJF Realty’s Class B warehouse in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania.

The 102,739-square-foot facility at 25 Liberty St. comprises nine loading docks and levelators, four drive-in bays and a 21-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 1967, the property spans 31.9 acres near Interstate 81.

Headquartered in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania, the landlord originally purchased the warehouse in January 2013, CoStar data shows.

Commercial Real Estate Lease Reimbursement Types (Video)

Dollar General Expands; Manufacturer Establishes HQ in PA

by John Jordan
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Friday that retailer Discount General Corp. has established a new cold storage facility in Schuylkill County that at full capacity will create 100 new jobs.
Dollar General’s expansion in Schuylkill County is part of the company’s new initiative toward a strategic shift to the self-distribution of perishable goods sold in its stores. The cold storage facility is currently distributing to approximately 300 stores in the Northeast. The project includes the company’s purchase of a 148,000-square-foot building in Pottsville, which is expected to create 100 new, full-time jobs over the next three years.

“Dollar General is excited to expand in Pennsylvania through the collaboration with Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development,” says Mike Kindy, Dollar General’s EVP of global supply chain. “As Dollar General embarks on our DG Fresh initiative, we sincerely appreciate the partnership from state and local leaders on this project and look forward to a longstanding presence throughout Pennsylvania.”
Dollar General received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development, which included $200,000 in job creation tax credits to be distributed upon the creation of new jobs and a $45,000 workforce development grant to help the company train employees. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, with additional coordination was provided by Schuylkill County Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO).

No further financial details regarding Dollar General’s purchase of the property were disclosed.

“We are pleased that Dollar General, as a nationally-recognized retailer, has acquired this cold storage facility at the Highridge Business Park joining Wegmans, Wal-Mart, and Tyson Foods in putting food on the table of families in the Northeast marketplace,” said David Snyder, chairman of SEDCO.
Dollar General operates a distribution center in Berks County and approximately 745 stores in Pennsylvania, employing more than 6,500 individuals throughout the Keystone State.

A day earlier, the governor announced that Cardbox Packaging, Inc., a multi-national manufacturer of paper/carton-based packaging products, had selected Pennsylvania as the location for its first headquarters and manufacturing operation in the United States.

Cardbox Packaging selected a 27,500-square-foot facility located in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park West Industrial Park in Pittston Township, Luzerne County. The company has committed to investing at least $5.3 million into the project, which is expected to create 35 new, full-time jobs over the next three years.

“Cardbox Packaging is very excited about landing in Pennsylvania and taking the first steps in establishing our presence in the U.S. packaging market,” said Michael Schaid, general manager at Cardbox Packaging, Inc. “We look forward to expanding our U.S. relationships which will result in Cardbox being able to produce innovative products. We appreciate the Governor’s Action Team guidance and support through this process.”

Cardbox received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for a $75,000 Pennsylvania First grant, $70,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon the creation of new jobs, and a $15,300 workforce development grant to help the company train its workers.

Cardbox Packaging is an international producer of high-quality and sophisticated packaging with locations in Austria and Czech Republic. It specializes in offset printing, flatbed die-cutting, and folding gluing to convert raw materials into products for the food, cosmetic and medical industries.

Agree Realty Buys Wawa’s Flagship Philly Store

by John Jordan,
Agree Realty Corp., which is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, MI, has acquired Wawa’s flagship store in Philadelphia located on the ground floor of the Public Ledger Building here.
The firm purchased the Wawa store, which first opened its doors on Dec. 14, 2018 for approximately $15 million. The 11,500-square-foot store is the largest in Wawa’s chain and includes a bakery, merchandise, and an expanded selection of Wawa’s Reserve coffee line.

The Public Ledger building is located at the corner of 6th and Chestnut streets in Center City and near several notable historic sites, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Congress Hall.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the addition of Wawa’s flagship store to our expanding portfolio,” says Joey Agree, president and CEO of  Agree Realty Corp. “This acquisition demonstrates our differentiated capabilities to identify unique opportunities that further solidify our best-in-class net lease portfolio.”

In the first quarter financial announcement on April 22, Agree said that the company was increasing its full year acquisition guidance to a range of $450 million to $500 million.

“While increasing our acquisition guidance, we remain intently focused on further solidifying the highest quality retail net lease portfolio in the country,” he said.
As of March 31, 2019, the company’s portfolio consisted of 694 properties located in 46 states totaled 11.9 million square feet of gross leasable space.

The portfolio was approximately 99.7% leased, had a weighted-average remaining lease term of approximately 10.2 years, and generated approximately 52.4% of annualized base rents from investment grade retail tenants or parent entities.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Average Credit Rating for Large REITs Likely to Increase (Video)

3 Montgomery County apartment sites up for sale

Natalie Kostelni Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
Three development sites approved for multifamily development have been put up for sale in Bala Cynwyd and Conshohocken.

Those two Montgomery County communities have seen new apartment construction over the last decade that was generally well-received by the market. That these properties didn’t get developed speaks more to transitions with the ownership of the parcels rather than market conditions. 

Mack-Cali Realty Corp. is selling two multifamily development sites as part of an effort to exit from the Philadelphia region.

The company put up for sale 51 Washington Ave. in Conshohocken and 150 Monument Rd. in Bala Cynwyd. Roseland, an affiliate of Mack-Cali, bought the 3.24-acre Conshohocken property in December 2014 for $14.1 million, according to Montgomery County property records, and had anticipated breaking ground in the first quarter of 2015 but never did. At one point, the company projected it would move ahead with the proposed $70 million, 298-unit apartment project at the end of 2016. Again, it never didn't move forward.

Beginning in 2014, Roseland was also involved with a proposed $48.9 million multifamily project on 5.24 acres at 150 Monument Rd. in Bala Cynwyd that would have had 207 apartments. That project also never came to fruition.
Full story:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

CHOP Now Leases More Than 300,000 SF at Wanamaker Office Building

by John Jordan
The ownership of the Wanamaker Office Building here reports that it has completed a 54,000-square-foot lease expansion with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at the 1.4-million-square-foot mixed-use property in the Market East section of the city.
Rubenstein Partners, L.P. and partner Amerimar Enterprises Inc. state that with the latest lease expansion, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia now occupies more than 300,000 square feet across six floors at the Wanamaker building at 100 Penn Square East.

In addition to the CHOP lease expansion, British-based online gaming firm Kambi recently leased approximately 7,000 square feet of office space in the building.
“CHOP’s recommitment and Kambi’s decision to locate their regional headquarters at Wanamaker affirms that the repositioning strategy is working. Also, our interest level from prospective tenants has dramatically increased with the completion of most of the renovations."

Built in 1911, the office portion of the building is approximately 95% occupied and the retail space is 100% occupied by Macy’s. In addition to the office and retail space, the property includes an approximately 660-space, subterranean parking garage.

The building ownership says it is on the verge of completing the final phase of their current modernization plans for the historic building that will deliver new two-floor amenity space connecting an updated grand atrium with a brand-new fitness center.
“We’re pleased that our strategy for Wanamaker appears to be resonating with existing tenants and major users seeking modern space in Center City,” says Stephen Card, regional director of the Mid-Atlantic and principal at Rubenstein.  “From the beginning, we have sought to preserve the building’s best architectural and historical elements while modernizing it with thoughtful improvements.

He adds, “As we deliver the second phase of improvements—primarily the new two-floor amenity space that revitalizes the existing Grand Atrium and connects it to a new state-of-the-art fitness center—I think that both existing users in the building and the broader market will understand exactly how special Wanamaker can be.”

Phase one of the improvement plan, now complete, focused on rethinking the lobby and security check-in areas in order to make the experience flow better for tenants and visitors.  Rubenstein and Amerimar installed all new materials, including flooring, feature walls, and finishes on both the ground floor and mezzanine level, in a modern but timeless style.  Lighting was replaced and improved throughout.  New North and South lobby entrances are now complete, incorporating a 350-square-foot media wall in the South Lobby. The North lobby saw renovations to the retail and amenity areas, along with a new seating area. New twinned escalators will carry tenants and visitors to a new mezzanine-level main desk and centralized security check-in, the building ownership states.

Additionally, a connected two-floor tenant amenity space on the building’s eighth and ninth floors, consisting of an updated grand atrium on the ninth floor and fitness center on the eighth floor, linked by a new internal staircase was completed. The four-story atrium has always been one of Wanamaker’s significant features, but the soaring space has been underutilized for many years. By redesigning the atrium with new furniture and installed features like a mini-amphitheater, along with all new finishes and fixtures throughout, Rubenstein and Amerimar are activating this common space. The renovated atrium will connect directly to the new state-of-the-art fitness center on the eighth floor via an internal staircase.

“We believe that our new amenity center demonstrates incredibly well the kind of environment that Wanamaker tenants want,” says Jerry Marshall, co-chairman and CEO of Amerimar.  “In particular we feel that Wanamaker, as improved, will be even better positioned to inspire visionary companies and enable them to attract and retain the creative-class and tech employees currently driving redevelopment in the Market East submarket.”

Pros of Investing in Commercial vs. Residential Real Estate (Video)

Commercial Real Estate Acquisitions: What Happens First? (Video)

Monthly Economic Outlook — May 2019 (Video)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Need for modern workspaces driving suburban office boom

Natalie Kostelni Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
Multiple new office projects, totaling nearly 1 million square feet, are in various stages of planning in Philadelphia's suburbs as developers seize on a lack of available space and rising rents that can financially support new construction.

This points to a potential wave of new development later this year and into next year.

At least one developer, Equus Capital Partners Ltd., is trying to get ahead of the competition by building on speculation, or without any tenants lined up. The company is finalizing approvals on a 145,000-square-foot building at 675 E. Swedesford Rd., in Wayne. “We plan to start construction in September,” said Steve Spaeder of Equus.

It's considering another spec project. “We’re taking a serious look at 400 Barr Harbor [Drive] in Conshohocken,” Spaeder said. That proposed 218,000-square-foot building is going through the approval process and Equus will “take a hard look” at breaking ground on it next spring, Spaeder said. 

Other projects in the works but not on spec include: Seven Tower Bridge, a 250,000-square-foot building in Conshohocken that may have Hamilton Lane as an anchor; Metroplex Two, a 280,000-square-foot structure in Plymouth Meeting; and 650 Park Ave., a 100,000-square-foot building in King of Prussia.

Two projects are underway that have substantial pre-leasing. Keystone Property Group broke ground on Sora West, a 429,000-square-foot complex in Conshohocken, and Brandywine Realty Trust is developing 145 King of Prussia Rd., a 150,000-square-foot structure in Radnor as part of Penn Health's new campus.

It's not often a combination of factors conspire to support new office construction. However, higher rents, low vacancies, a lack of large blocks of space — particularly for trophy space — and tenants desiring fresh, new space are driving developers to queue up these projects.
Full Story:

Improving Multifamily Tenant Demand (Video)

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Lending Shoots Up in Opportunity Zones

In the latest sign of investor interest in federal opportunity zones, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., known as Freddie Mac, had a nearly 180% increase in the amount of multifamily loan origination in these areas designated as economically distressed in 2018, the first year that new tax breaks kicked in under the program.

Of the 630,000 conventional multifamily units. including apartments, mobile homes, senior and student housing, that Freddie Mac financed last year, 71,000, or 11.3%, were located in areas that are now designated as opportunity zones, according to a new Freddie Mac analysis.

The increase escalates a trend that surfaced in 2015, the year Freddie Mac launched a small-balance loan program. Prior to 2015, there were very few small-balance loan properties in Freddie Mac's lending portfolio. Following the creation of this program, financing activity in this market segment increased tremendously, and the effect was seen acutely in opportunity zones.

"The research shows that Freddie Mac financing for affordable housing in economically distressed areas predated the creation of opportunity zones," said Steve Guggenmos, vice president of research and modeling for Freddie Mac Multifamily, in a statement. "Our financing in these areas has far outpaced our work elsewhere, consistent with our mission to seek out the areas most in need of affordable housing."

Census tracts identified as opportunity zones are found in each state and are characterized by high poverty and subpar employment opportunities. Tax provisions enacted in December 2017 allow for the preferential tax treatment of capital gains if these gains are placed into opportunity funds that are invested in these zones.

While Guggenmos said the ultimate impact of additional and tax-advantaged investments remains to be seen, other research shows that investors are clearly targeting multifamily investments in opportunity zones.

Multifamily rental housing is expected to be a key target for opportunity funds.

[See latest list of all the Opportunity Zones funds that have been created.]

Of the funds identified by the National Council of State Housing Agencies, 70 have an investment focus of multifamily residential development, with estimated funds totaling between $14.9 billion to $15.2 billion.

Funds range in size from $1 million to $3 billion, with an average fund size of $215 million, James Tassos, deputy director of tax policy and strategic initiatives of NCSHA, reported this week.

Commercial real estate is a strong focus of opportunity funds, with 91% reporting investment in multifamily residential, student housing, mixed-use, hospitality, or other development.

The number of funds planning to invest in community revitalization, affordable housing, or workforce housing make up about 58%, Tassos said.

Freddie Mac's research found that affordable rental housing for very low-income households is more than twice as common in opportunity zones, where median incomes are lower and poverty rates are higher than the national average.

Freddie Mac found that opportunity zones have historically contained a large number of multifamily rental units that are affordable to very low-income households. These areas often have a higher proportion of small- to medium-sized multifamily properties, which tend to cater more to lower-income renters.

"Investor interest in this initiative is already high and will likely continue to grow as more investors become aware of the opportunities for financial gain and social impact. If success is measured by the effectiveness of bringing new capital to these neighborhoods, then this initiative appears to be moving in that direction," Freddie Mac concluded.

Penn State Board Approves Architect for New $71M Art Museum Project

By John Jordan
The Penn State University Board of Trustees has proposed the construction of a new freestanding art museum on the University Park campus that would be located in The Arboretum at Penn State.
The plan for the new museum building would encompass approximately 68,000 square feet to 73,000 square feet, with a total project budget of $71.1 million. The project would be funded by Penn State’s five-year capital plan that runs through 2023. The cost of the new art museum could increase to as much as $85 million with philanthropic support. Final project plans and costs are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.

The design phase of the project will commence immediately, with construction—pending board approval—expected to begin in late 2020 for a planned opening in the fall of 2022, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of an art museum at Penn State.
The Penn State Board of Trustees approved the selection of Allied Works as the architect to design the new University Art Museum at its meeting on Friday, May 3. Allied Works was selected based on its extensive experience in the design of arts and educational facilities and for its interdisciplinary, research based, and collaborative approach to architecture, the board stated.

The firm, founded by Brad Cloepfil in 1994 in Portland, OR, is internationally recognized for its innovative arts, cultural and civic buildings, including academic art museums and art schools at higher-education institutions. Examples of the firm’s work include the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

The proposed University Art Museum would replace the existing Palmer Museum of Art and include expanded gallery and exhibition space, providing greater access to its 9,300-object collection; enhanced learning, creative and social opportunities for students; and areas for events and community gatherings, while continuing and expanding the Palmer Museum’s role as a cultural, educational and scholarly resource for the Penn State community and visitors.
Under the plan, the existing Palmer Museum of Art building on Curtin Road and the signature bronze lion’s paws that flank its front steps would remain, as a student-focused space. A task force has been assembled to determine exactly how the student space could be utilized.

“The new art museum would allow us to advance Penn State’s teaching and research mission while serving as the cultural gateway to the University,” says Erin M. Coe, director of the Palmer Museum of Art. “The new facility would greatly expand public access to our growing collections in an exceptional setting while offering innovative and engaging experiences for our students, the community, and visitors from around the world.”

The proposed location of the museum is along Bigler Road near the entrance to the Arboretum, across from the Lewis Katz Building and adjacent to the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, with the exact site to be determined in consultation with the selected design firm.

“This project would fulfill our long-standing vision of the Arboretum as a venue for the arts as well as a place of beauty and education about the natural world,” says Kim Steiner, professor of forest biology and director of The Arboretum at Penn State. “The Arboretum is already one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the area. With this inspired partnership, I expect us to develop into a regional and national destination.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

REIT M&A Activity Likely to Remain Robust in 2019 (Video)

REIT Capital Markets “Wide Open” for Equity and Debt, Banker Says

AXA Advisors Inks Deal at The GSB Building

Multinational insurance firm AXA Advisors leased 39,382 square feet at Keystone Property Group's Class A GSB Building in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

The 12-story structure at 1 Belmont Ave. totals 245,000 square feet. Built in 1959 and renovated in 2017, the 4-Star property spans eight acres less than 15 miles from Philadelphia International Airport.

The landlord  originally purchased the building in December 2015 for $46 million, or about $188 per square foot.

ShipBob Inks Deal at Lehigh Valley Trade Center

ShipBob, a logistics services company, leased 123,140 square feet at Trammell Crow Company's Class B warehouse in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The 297,650-square-foot, single-story structure at 4779 Hanoverville Road comprises 20 loading docks and levelators, one drive-in bay, 52- by 54-foot column spacing and a 32-foot clear ceiling height. Completed by the owner in 2016, the 4-Star property at Lehigh Valley Trade Center is less than six miles from Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Old Navy Inks Deal in Saint Davids, Pennsylvania

Clothing and accessories retailer Old Navy leased 21,526 square feet at St. David's Square Shopping Center in Saint Davids, Pennsylvania.

The 157,041-square-foot building at 550 E Lancaster Ave. was built in 1992. The center spans 77.8 acres less than 14 miles from downtown Philadelphia.

Old Navy plans to take occupancy at the property by the third quarter of 2019.

Endurance/CenterSquare Announce the Development of an Infill, Last Mile Industrial Warehouse in Philadelphia

An affiliate of Endurance Real Estate Group, LLC (“Endurance”) and Center Square Investment Management is pleased to announce the acquisition of 205 Schoolhouse Road, a 16.4 acre land site located in Souderton, Pennsylvania (“Project”). The partnership acquired the property from Franconia Technology Associates.

“We are excited about our latest industrial project in Montgomery County, 205 Commerce Center (“205 CC”)”, stated Albert J. Corr, Senior Vice President of Endurance.  Corr added, “Site work will be commencing in June with completion of construction by year end.”  The building will contain 176,700 RSF with concrete tilt wall construction, 32’ clear height, a TPO roof, ESFR sprinkler, LED lighting with motion sensors, up to 29 dock positions, 1 drive-in door, and a 1,000 amp, 3-phase electric system.

205 Commerce Center is in an excellent infill location within 20 miles of CBD Philadelphia, located at the recently improved and expanded Lansdale Interchange of the PA Turnpike - Exit 31 - 476 Northeast Extension.

The Montgomery County industrial market features high barriers to entry with limited land available for new industrial development. Vacancy rates in the Philadelphia Metro reached an all-time low at 4.8% in the first quarter of 2019. Tenants from industries in logistics and e-commerce, such as Amazon, made up a predominant portion of demand growth in Q1 2019. Retailers’ need to optimize their supply chains, plus Philadelphia’s convenient location, sets up the area’s industrial market for a promising 2019 and beyond.

“205 CC represents a great infill development opportunity with immediate access to the Philadelphia MSA due to the recently expanded Northeast extension of 476 from Mid-County up to Lansdale. This development will provide prospective tenants the modern attributes of a new warehouse that have been lacking in suburban Philadelphia given the shortage of new industrial product delivered over the last decade.” stated Jared Newman, Vice President of Acquisitions for Endurance Real Estate.

Retail Bankruptcies 2019 (Video)

Perspective on Class C Apartment Investing (Video)

Monday, May 6, 2019

Distribution Management Signs Large Industrial Lease in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Distribution Management signed a 419,344-square-foot lease at the Class A Trade Center 44 distribution building in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The 621,241-square-foot, single-story facility at 1495 Dennison Circle comprises 69 loading docks and levelators, one drive-in bay, 50- by 52-foot column spacing and a 32-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 2016, the 5-Star property spans 50.4 acres less than 25 miles from downtown Harrisburg.

Elite Flower Services Renews Lease at Burlington Bus Campus

Elite Flower Services, a floret delivery service, renewed its 75,011-square-foot lease at Dolan Contractors' warehouse at Burlington Bus Campus in Burlington, New Jersey.

The single-tenant facility at 9 Campus Drive comprises 28 loading docks, one drive-in bay, 40- by 40-foot column spacing and a 24-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 1994, the property spans 5.7 acres less than 13 miles from Northeast Philadelphia Airport.

Ferrero USA Takes Class A Distribution Building at First Logistics Center @ I-78/81

Ferrero USA, the U.S. arm of the third-largest confectionery company in the world, leased First Industrial Realty Trust's Class A distribution building at First Logistics Center @ I-78/81 in Jonestown, Pennsylvania.

The 738,720-square-foot, single-story structure at 112 Bordnersville Road comprises 135 loading docks, four drive-in bays, 56- by 54-foot column spacing and a 40-foot clear ceiling height. Completed by the owner in 2018, the 4-Star property spans 84.5 acres adjacent to Interstate 81.

First Industrial Realty Trust (NYSE: FR), a Chicago-based owner, operator and developer of industrial real estate, recently reported its first-quarter 2019 results, which included signing 1.8 million square feet of new leases for development and value-add acquisitions year-to-date.

First Industrial's President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Baccile said in a statement, "We continue to see broad-based demand for industrial real estate, reflected in our recent leasing wins at our developments and value-add acquisitions, as well as our portfolio performance. Given low national vacancy levels and supply and demand near equilibrium, the environment for rental rate growth in the sector remains favorable."

Historic Walnut Street Theatre Unveils $39M Expansion Project

by John Jordan,
America’s oldest theater—the Walnut Street Theatre—unveiled a $39-million expansion plan during its annual Gala Concert on Friday evening.
The expansion plan, which will provide more than 35,000 square feet of new space, will also include a fully renovated lobby and box office, additional space for its growing educational programs, two state-of-the-art rehearsal halls, a 400-seat theatre-in-the-round and a public restaurant.

The capital expansion project will allow for the conversion of former rehearsal halls into the first dedicated education spaces in the history of the theatre. When completed, the theatre will offer three new dedicated classrooms that will enhance the capabilities of its Theatre School.
“For over two centuries the Walnut has adapted to the needs of the community,” says Walnut Street Theatre president and producing artistic director Bernard Harvard. “This is the latest reinvention of the theatre that so many in the Greater Philadelphia area call home, and guarantees that generations to come will also be able to make the Walnut their theatre home.”

The theatre has launched a capital campaign for the project that it hopes to break ground on in the spring of 2020. The Walnut Street Theatre is looking to complete the expansion project sometime in 2022. The theatre is seeking contributions from public resources as well as from private philanthropy. Specifically, the theatre is seeking donations from its 50,000 season ticket subscribers, individual ticket buyers, corporations and foundations, as well as from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Walnut Street Theatre was founded in 1809 and is the Official State Theatre of Pennsylvania and a National Historic Landmark.
“The expansion will allow us to strengthen our role as an incubator for theatre arts in Philadelphia, while at the same time preserving our history and strengthening our legacy,” says Walnut Street Theatre board chair Richard A. Mitchell. “Our mission statement says in part that we are a non-profit theatre whose purpose is to sustain the tradition of professional theatre, contributing to its future and vitality. Our project does just that.”:

In addition to five main-stage productions, the Walnut Street Theatre for Kids Series and Independent Studio on 3 Series, the Walnut Theatre’s education and outreach programs bring live theatre to more than 150,000 students, teachers, parents and children each year.

Mixed-Use Building on Jeweler’s Row Fetches Nearly $6M

by Steve Lubetkin,
Galman Group, a private investor with interests in more than 30 properties worth more than $930 million, has sold Jewelers’ Row Apartments, 802 Sansom Street (122-124 South 8th Street) in Philadelphia, PA.
The mixed-use property contains 12 apartments and 4 street-level commercial/retail spaces. The five-story building was originally constructed in 1900 and renovated in 2017.

The residential units were recently updated and feature hardwood flooring, designer kitchens with stainless steel appliances and custom cabinets, and stackable washers and dryers. Large windows within the units provide plenty of sunlight and great views of the surrounding neighborhood and Jeweler’s Row.
802 Sansom Street is situated in Washington Square West, with easy access to Interstates 95, 76 and 676 as well as Broad Street and Columbus Boulevard. With a great variety of nearby popular restaurants, shops and entertainment, the property is also convenient to SEPTA’s Regional Rail and the PATCO High Speed Line to New Jersey.

The property attracted considerable attention from investors but was ultimately purchased by an international buyer who was not identified.

“We continue to see foreign capital buying core deals in Center City, Philadelphia. 802 Sansom’s desirability comes from its great location on Jeweler’s Row, close to major employers Jefferson Hospital and Pennsylvania Hospital.”

Ubiquity Global Services Leases 30K SF Call Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA

by Steve Lubetkin,
Ubiquity Global Services, a multinational business process and call center outsourcing organization, has selected a 30,000 square foot call center at at 1061 Hanover Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA for its eighth location worldwide. The move is expected to bring more than 400 jobs to the region in the next few years.
Ubiquity offers live customer experience management services, interactive voice response solutions, and a comprehensive risk and compliance solution that includes fraud investigations, and dispute and chargeback management.

The facility is owned by Mericle Development.
“Northeastern Pennsylvania is the perfect location to help us continue our extraordinary growth and expansion in the United States,” says Matt Nyren, Ubiquity president and CEO. “The local talent pool, proximity to our New York City headquarters and support from state and local economic development groups made Wilkes-Barre an easy choice. We’re excited to grow our global footprint and contribute to the region’s renewal as a hub of commerce.”

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Multifamily Sector Outlook (Video)

The Irvine Apartments Open in Redeveloped West Philadelphia Warehouse

by Steve Lubetkin
Post Brothers has launched leasing at its newest project, The Irvine Apartments, in a century-old former warehousing facility at 780 South 52nd Street at the terminus of the Baltimore Avenue corridor.
The Irvine incorporates floor plans ranging from studios through three-bedroom units, complete with large living spaces, expansive windows and deluxe-sized closets.

“This isn’t one of your cookie-cutter, ground-up luxury high-rise buildings. The Irvine has history and roots in industrial Philly. Our mission was to honor its history and character while creating an elevated, yet practical living experience,” says Michael Pestronk, CEO and co-founder of Post Brothers. “We’re keeping in line with the ever-growing cultural renaissance of West Philly, where we’re seeing an influx of new residents who really care about health, sustainability, and the concept of community, so we wanted to create an experience that echoes those values.”
The Irvine’s interiors include roller shades for apartment windows and customizable mill work for closets, along with full-size stainless steel appliances, antimicrobial quartz countertops, and tile backsplash in the kitchen. Bathrooms feature matte black fixtures, artisanal tile surface, glass shower doors, rain-style shower heads and high-pressure body jets.

The property includes a variety of both indoor and outdoor amenities, including:

  • A fitness center equipped with top-of-the-line cardio and exercise equipment such as Peloton bikes, Precor treadmills, stair-masters, HIIT options, and a variety of selectorized, plate-loaded and free weight stations.
  • A community garden where residents can plant and grow their own flora and produce
  • Fully-equipped outdoor kitchen with grills, dining tables and lounge areas
  • A K9 turf lawn and pet park
  • A co-working space that features a large open area with ample seating, natural sunlight and custom artwork
  • Concierge services including dry cleaning, package storage and online services

“Times are changing, and the modern professional values access to an alternative workspace, ideally with a coffee shop component, and great WiFi that’s close to home,” Pestronk says. “The community garden at The Irvine is also a reflection of our renters’ gravitation toward locally sourced, healthier food access.”
Like all of Post Brothers’ properties, The Irvine incorporates environmental responsibility in its design, from wind power electricity and efficient fixtures to complimentary resident bike storage on the first floor and easy access to public transportation. The Irvine is just three blocks from bus and light rail stations along Baltimore Avenue and is a twenty-minute drive to downtown Philadelphia along I-76 or I-676.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Office Performance and Trends (Video)

True North Management Group Sells DoubleTree Philadelphia-Valley Forge for $32 Million

True North Management Group, a New York-based investment firm, sold the 327-room DoubleTree Philadelphia-Valley Forge in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, to a joint venture between Whitman Peterson and Concord Hospitality for $32 million, or about $98,000 per room.

The seven-story hotel at 301 W. Dekalb Pike was built in 1970 and renovated in 2012.

Steve Nunez, principal of Whitman Peterson, said in a statement, "We were attracted to the asset due to the strong  base of corporate demand within the King of Prussia business park in addition to a limited supply within the submarket and prime location of the hotel."

The firm plans to execute a full-scale property renovation which will include updates to the common areas, rooms and meeting space. Upon completion, which is slated for the second quarter of 2020, the hotel will be elevated to a DoubleTree Hotel & Suites.

Concord Hospitality will handle property management responsibilities in-house.

Mericle to Construct Six Spec Industrials in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region in 2019

by Steve Lubetkin
Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, the developer and owner of CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park in Jenkins Township and Pittston Township, PA, will construct six spec buildings in the park in 2019, just minutes from Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.
The brisk economy, coupled with the types of space requests his firm has been receiving, led to the decision to construct the six buildings, says Mericle president Robert Mericle.

“For the past several years, there has been strong interest from distribution and manufacturing firms needing bulk industrial space in excess of 200,000 square feet,” Mericle says. “However, lately we have seen a noticeable increase in requests for smaller spaces ranging from 6,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet. Most of our small spaces in CenterPoint are occupied so our 2019 projects will help us meet the needs of a wider variety of businesses.”
The new industrial and flex buildings will range in size from 42,000 square feet to 310,000 square feet.  Site work is underway on the parcels and steel will begin arriving early this summer.

Upon completion of the buildings in late 2019, there will be 43 buildings in CenterPoint totaling approximately 10.7 million square feet.

The six new buildings will total 802,000 square feet and will complement four large industrial buildings recently constructed by Mericle in CenterPoint that can accommodate tenants needing from 200,000 square feet to 1,000,000 square feet.
Mericle says all the new buildings can be divided into smaller spaces. Several will be flex buildings making them suitable for manufacturing, distribution, office, and medical firms.

“There are many companies that lease space in outdated buildings,” Mericle says.  “They are hampered by low ceilings, narrow column spacing, tight truck courts, and lighting and heating systems that are not energy efficient.  Some are even located in buildings in residential neighborhoods that are located a considerable distance from the nearest highway. Our new CenterPoint buildings will give them the opportunity to move into much better, energy-efficient space, immediately adjacent to two interstates, at a lower overall operating cost.”

CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park is located less than one mile from I-81 and I-476 and is just 10 minutes from Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.  The 51 tenants in CenterPoint employ approximately 5,500 people. Mericle says he expects park employment to rise to about 7,500 upon full occupancy of the 10.7 million square feet.

Greater Philadelphia Office Market Poised for Strong Remainder of 2019

by Steve Lubetkin,
The Greater Philadelphia office market has benefited from another quarter of positive economic indicators marked by low unemployment, an expanding employment base and rising wages.
“Continued job growth within the economy seems to be the main ingredient shaping the office landscape in the metro area.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current pace of job growth in the metro area is about 1.2% year-over-year, which is about two-thirds the pace of US employment growth. Healthcare, technology, and distribution are the three sectors largely driving the job growth in Philadelphia.
“We’re additionally seeing other recent and continuing trends throughout the Center City and Suburban office markets stemming from the increasing demand by tenants for newer, amenity-rich office space that is also well-located with primary access to public transportation.”

Looking ahead, Philadelphia is poised for a strong second quarter, the report noted. With very little construction in the pipeline mixed with low availability rates, vacancies will gradually drop, thus resulting in an increase in rental rates. A combination of these factors suggests the market will remain tight.

Among the other findings of the report:
In Center City, the central and non-central business districts are comprised of more than 62 million square feet of office space at an 8% vacancy rate. Spanning less than five square miles of space, the Center City market is a highly concentrated and competitive market.

In University City, a part of the non-CBD, health and educational institutions drives the market. In the heart of this area, Amicus Therapeutics, a global biotechnology company, signed a 75,000 square-foot lease at Wexford Science and Technology’s class A lab and office building. The facility will be home to 200 employees and will serve as the company’s global research and gene therapy of excellence. Other major tenants providing ongoing demand in the University City submarket include the University of Pennsylvania, the University of the Sciences of Philadelphia and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

On the other hand, the central business district of Philadelphia, which includes Market Street East, Market Street West and Independence Hall, account for 184 office buildings and holds more than 54 million square feet of space. Class A asking rates continue to increase, but that has not stopped tenants from occupying newly renovated space in the submarket. In Market Street East, a local architecture firm, Ballinger, renewed its 78,951-square-foot lease at 833 Chestnut Street during the first quarter of 2019. Additionally, other large tenants host their headquarters in this submarket such as Five Below, Comcast, and Aramark.

Suburban Philadelphia consists of 18 submarkets, including Southern New Jersey. A majority of the suburban Philadelphia office submarkets enjoy convenient location, good accessibility to the city and lower asking rental rates compared to space in Center City. Rental rates throughout the suburban market range from a high of more than $36.00 per square foot to just over $18.00 per square foot. Factors that tend to influence rates in the suburban submarkets include the age of the building, accessibility, and surrounding amenities.

Conshohocken holds the highest average asking rental rate at $36.63 per square foot as well as the highest average asking rental rate for class A space at $36.77. AmerisourceBergen signed a 400,000-square-foot office lease at SORA West in Conshohocken during the first quarter of 2019. The class A space is located steps from the SEPTA Regional Rail line, giving it excellent accessibility and easy transportation to and from Center City Philadelphia. Furthermore, another submarket to watch is the King of Prussia / Wayne submarket, as CSL Behring just signed a lease for 100,820 square feet and SEL also signed a new 27,000 square-foot lease.

“Conshohocken and Radnor have always been strong,” Fahey says. “Currently, there is new construction occurring in both submarkets, and I think that these submarkets will remain strong and rental rates will strengthen as well. Additionally, I believe we will see a ‘spill over’ effect (from Conshohocken and Radnor) that will strengthen nearby submarkets such as King of Prussia.”

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Executive Personal Computers Inks Deal at Leigh Valley Industrial Park

Executive Personal Computers, a data security and environmental risks solutions company, leased Gelcor Realty's 85,680-square-foot warehouse at Lehigh Valley Industrial Park in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The single-story structure at 2980 Avenue B comprises 13 loading docks, one drive-in bay and a 20-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 1966, the facility spans 5.7 acres less than a mile from Lehigh Valley International Airport.

REITs View Opportunity Zones as Source of Long-Term Capital for Development (Video)

Monday, April 29, 2019

Office Market Update with Reis (Video)

Misfits Market Inks Deal for New Headquarters in Pennsauken, New Jersey

Misfits Market leased Industrial Investments' 140,800-square-foot distribution building in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

The location will serve as the new headquarters and distribution center for the direct-to-customer produce delivery service company.

The single-story structure at 500 Griffith Morgan Road comprises 29 loading docks with six levelators, three drive-in bays, 40- by 40-foot column spacing and a 24-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 1972 and renovated in 2015, the 4-Star facility spans 7.3 acres less than a mile from the Pennsauken train station.

Arrival of Driverless Vehicles Looming Large Over Lehigh Valley's Shipping Workforce

Experts forecast that automated trucking is expected to begin transforming the shipping industry within the next five years, just one of the many ways shippers are looking to wring costs out of the business and keep consumers happy by offering more 'free' shipping options for online orders.

Driverless commercial vehicles developed by Waymer, Google and Tesla have already completed cross-country trips in tests, and the Department of Transportation recently signaled it plans to review and modify its rules governing vehicle design standards to allow the use of self-driving vehicles while also ensuring road safety.

Overwhelming economic incentives make some form of automation for trucking inevitable. Untethered to labor laws limiting driving hours, shippers are expected to be able to move substantially more produce and products across far greater distances. Delivery speeds will likely increase as vehicles only have to stop for fuel or maintenance.

In some cases, shippers are planning to program trucks to form wind-resistant platoons on the road, potentially saving millions of dollars in fuel. But the most radical transformation will likely be a drastic reduction in labor, which could save shippers billions of dollars annually, according to some projections.

Close to 100,000 Pennsylvanians drive big rigs for a living. And while the expanding use of automation and driverless vehicles will certainly affect the industry nationally, the impact could be especially widespread in central and northeast Pennsylvania.

According to Oxford Economics, close to 40,000 people work in transportation in the Lehigh Valley market, accounting for more than a quarter of the job market. Roughly 70% of jobs added in Scranton, Pennsylvania since 1990 are in the transportation industry, with similar figures in Reading and Lebanon.

And CoStar data shows developers have added more than 63 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space throughout this region since 2010.

Annual salaries for Pennsylvania truckers average around $45,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it one of the region's highest paying positions for those without a college education.

Many secondary markets in Pennsylvania were previously battered in the early 2000’s when outsourcing and automation eliminated several thousand manufacturing jobs. The recession struck just a few years later, eliminating close to 12,500 jobs in Scranton alone, and Costar shows that most of these markets only returned to pre-recession employment levels in 2018.

While widespread job displacement among truckers likely won’t occur overnight, if pilot programs prove successful, its progress will likely become relentless. A 2018 Goldman Sachs report estimates that once fully implemented, automated driving could eliminate 25,000 jobs a month.

And if history is any guide, displaced workers without college degrees will struggle to transition into new careers. Retraining programs have proven troublingly ineffective. A 2016 Department of Labor survey found that 30% of displaced manufacturing workers were unable to find new positions, and opted to drop out of the labor force or go on disability.

2018 Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate Development (Video)

Class A Office Asking Rates Hit All-Time High in Greater Philadelphia Region

by Steve Lubetkin,
Class A asking rates throughout the region hit an all-time high of $30 per square foot, propped up heavily by the Central Business District and the Philadelphia suburbs, according to first quarter 2019 office market report.
“Landlords typically prefer to see demand before increasing rents and last year was a record year for demand. As a result, landlords responded accordingly and asking rents spiked at the start of 2019. Enhancing this trend is the high level of investment activity in the office sector, with landlords expecting increased returns.”

During the first quarter, however, the net absorption rate decreased by 19,467 square feet from the previous quarter as a result of corporate downsizing, although this was largely canceled out by positive demand growth in the surrounding suburbs, most notably in Northern Delaware.
“The decrease in occupancy did not come as a surprise, as large tenants continue to reduce their footprints or consolidate their employees within a single location,” says Cauffman.

On the capital markets front, the record sale of 1735 Market Street in Center City, Philadelphia helped keep office sales volume for the first quarter in the metro area in-line with recent quarterly figures. Other notable deals during the first quarter included the sale of Spring Mill Corporate Center in Conshohocken for $131 per square foot and Valley Forge Park Place for $106 per square foot.

Net-Lease Blue Bell CVS Trades Hands at Almost $7M

by Steve Lubetkin,
The sale of a CVS store, a 10,125-square-foot triple-net lease property with a new 18-year lease, was arranged at 1799 DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell, PA. The asset sold for $6.8 million at a 5.4% cap rate.
The seller was a private developer that built the store in 1999 and had owned it ever since.

“This transaction shows the strength of the tenant and the location..The buyer was in a 1031 exchange and paid full price for the asset, because they understood the value of the property and this location.”
The CVS is a drive-through location with 47 parking spaces, situated on a major retail corridor running between East Norriton to Montgomeryville.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Camden Tower gets new name

Natalie Kostelni Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
The owners of the newly developed Camden Tower, a $245 million, 395,000-square-foot office building along Camden’s waterfront, have given the structure a new name: Triad1828 Centre.

Affiliates of NFI Corp., Conner Strong & Buckelew, and the Michaels Organization own the building. Liberty Property Trust sold the partnership the development rights. It will house each of their headquarters and the companies. Their combined 1,000 employees are expected to move in this June. The companies are currently headquartered in nearby South Jersey towns and the development of Triad1828 is part of a series of other buildings that have been constructed in recent years in the city.
Full story:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

CRE Capital Markets Update (Video)

Investing in real estate with REIT's (Video)

Two Chestnut Street Redevelopment Sites trade for $21M

by Steve Lubetkin,
The sale of two redevelopment sites on the 4200 block of Chestnut Street in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia we arranged. 4233 Chestnut Street, a 37,627 SF parcel and 4219-4223 Chestnut Street, a 12,441 SF parcel are both zoned CMX-4, which is favorable for multifamily, student housing or mixed-use development.
University City has experienced significant development recently. According to the University City District’s 2019 report: “in the past year, 26 new development projects in University City opened their doors or made significant progress towards completion. Together, this represents 4.5+/- million square feet of office, residential, academic, research, restaurant and medical space that will enhance the neighborhood’s already robust inventory.”

“University City is one of the strongest markets in Philadelphia. We continue to see the growth of the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University driving the demand for housing in this submarket and driving growth and redevelopment further west.”
The University City submarket has excellent occupancy and is one of the most walkable and bikeable neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Both sites are within walking distance to parks, cafes, and restaurants, as well as to SEPTA’s Market/Frankford train line to Center City, Philadelphia.

“Trends being seen in University City include growing household incomes and a growing job market. There is a rising demand for quality market-rate housing.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Jako Enterprises Leases 4-Star Warehouse in Philadelphia

Jako Enterprises, a local apparel retailer, leased Ricatto Property Management's 4-Star warehouse in Philadelphia.

The 201,456-square-foot facility at 7601 State Road comprises 16 loading docks, one drive-in bay, 60- by 55-foot column spacing and a 26-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 1968 and renovated in 1977, the building spans 8.3 acres less than a mile from the Holmesburg Junction train station.

Commercial Real Estate Design Trends from Perkins+Will (Video)

84-Unit Montgomery County MF Package Sells for $8.56M

by Steve Lubetkin,
The $8.56 million sale of 84 multifamily units in the  Applegate Apartments and Applecore Apartments traded in Montgomery County.
Applegate Apartments, 72 units, is located at 434 West Vine Street in Hatfield, PA. Applecore Apartments, with 12 units, is located at 464, 472, and 480 2nd Street in Souderton, PA. Both towns are known for being excellent suburban locations and close to major employment centers.

The buyer, a limited liability company that was not identified. The buyer plans to begin renovations to upgrade the property and increase rents, so they are more in-line with the market.
“Value-add multifamily is still in high demand. Buyers are willing to accept low current returns for an opportunity to improve a property and generate higher rents.”

The seller was a family trust, also not identified. They had owned the property for decades.

“The seller was the second generation of the original developer of the property, who had owned it for 48 years,” says Townsend.

Monday, April 22, 2019

24-Unit MF Property Changes Hands in Allentown, PA

by Steve Lubetkin
Mountain Lane Apartments, a three building, 24-unit apartment property  was sold at 2901 Ithaca Street, Allentown, PA, consisting of three 1-bedroom units, nineteen 2-bedroom units and two 3-bedroom units. The buyer, seller, and financial terms were not disclosed.

The seller was an individual/personal trust, who had owned the property for 21 years. The team also secured and represented the buyer, a private company. The buyer plans to renovate all the units and address the capital improvement needs of the complex in order to increase rents substantially.

“This transaction shows the strength of the Lehigh Valley market and the overall apartment market, given how quickly the property was approached by investors and the speed at which it went under contract. Investors from New York and Philadelphia are starting to look toward the Lehigh Valley as a means to obtain higher yields where demographics continue to improve, and development is picking up.”

Friday, April 19, 2019

Cash on Cash Return - Commercial Real Estate Investing Return Metrics (Video)

The National, Mixed-Use Multifamily, Opens in Former Restaurant Supply Company Site

by Steve Lubetkin,
The National, a 220,000 square foot, 192-unit mixed use apartment building, has opened in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood, adjacent to Elfreth’s Alley, a historic landmark and one of the most heavily foot-trafficked sites in Philadelphia.
The Harman Group, which specializes in structural engineering and parking planning and design, provided structural engineering services for the six-story project. The project was developed by The Buccini/Pollin Group in partnership with AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust and designed by architect BartonPartners.

“We are honored to be a part of the team who brought this historic location back to life,” say Jason Squitiere, associate and project manager at The Harman Group. “The Harman Group’s extensive mixed use and historic renovation experience allowed us to determine the best structural systems for the building’s different uses, so we could optimize the amenity, retail, and residential spaces for Old City.”
The structural system designed by The Harman Group used structural steel for the first floor and parking garage, supporting cold-formed bearing walls and wood trusses for the upper five floors. THG also provided parking planning consultation to the architect.

The National features 4,000 square feet of retail and amenity spaces on the first floor, sweeping views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Delaware River and a two-level underground parking garage with space for 60 cars. At the northwest corner of the site, the former parking lot has been transformed into a public park for residents and visitors to Elfreth’s Alley.

The former National Products Company site has a deep history in Philadelphia and is recognized by the Philadelphia Historic Commission for its iconic orange tile façade, which was remarkably replicated in the new facade on the North 2nd Street elevation. The new building pays homage to the site’s former occupant by including the original stainless-steel sign from the restaurant supply building.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Equity Multiple for Commercial Real Estate Investing (Video)

Strategic 2019 Real Estate Decisions (Video)

Part 1 Part 2

Endurance Acquires 243K SF Hazleton, PA Industrial

by Steve Lubetkin,
An affiliate of Endurance Real Estate Group and CenterSquare Investment Management have acquired 594 Can Do Expressway, a 242,960 square foot, 32-foot clear warehouse/distribution building located in Hazleton, PA from Quad Graphics, for a price industry sources was probably between $6 and $7 million.
“594 DC is a great value-add/redevelopment lease-up play that fits within Endurance’s long-term sweet spot of re-positioning well-located, functional excess corporate real estate assets."

“As part of the re-branding and kickoff of our planned multi-million dollar renovation project, we are renaming the building the 594 Distribution Center. We will be commencing our planned improvements later this month and expect to have our re-positioning completed by the end of third quarter.”

Part of the planned improvements at the building include the installation of a new roof, the addition of thirteen dock doors on the eastern side of the building, installation of an ESFR sprinkler system, new LED lighting throughout the warehouse area and various office, paving and landscaping improvements. At the completion of the Building renovation, the project will provide a total of 24 loading doors, one drive-in door, 20 trailer spots and 185 parking spaces.

594 DC is located just one mile from Exit 143 of I-81. This location offers excellent transportation links to Interstate Highways and is within 250 miles of most major markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. As part of the eastern and central Pennsylvania industrial market, the northeast Pennsylvania industrial market is an established center for national retail distribution and consumer goods companies in the Eastern United States.
While primarily successful as a big-box market in past years, there has been a recent uptick in tenant requirements in the 100-300,000 square-foot range. The Northeast Pennsylvania Industrial Market development pipeline of industrial projects has very little planned to accommodate those requirements in class A buildings. 594 DC will offer tenants a quality option with state-of-the-art design specifications, at a lower cost than its class A competitors.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Monthly Economic Outlook — April 2019 (Video)

How Do REITs Work? (Video)

Agree Realty CEO: Don't look at retail in a binary framer (Video) #CNBC

Carlyle/Alterra JV Acquires Commonwealth MF in Philadelphia

by Steve Lubetkin
A joint venture partnership of The Carlyle Group and Alterra Property Group has acquired The Commonwealth, a 98-unit, high-rise apartment building at 1201 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. The dollar amount of the transaction was not disclosed.

“We have seen a significant uptick in interest for core-plus properties in the Philadelphia region. This was a great opportunity for investors to buy a core-plus building at an attractive basis with upside in one of the best locations in Center City Philadelphia. With a lack of velocity of core-plus deals of this size in the area, the property drew significant interest from local, regional and national investors.  We conducted 31 tours of the property, which resulted in offers from 18 different companies.”

The Commonwealth was originally constructed in 1906 and underwent a full restoration in 2012 completed by Alterra Property Group. The property’s Midtown Village location has earned it a Walk Score® of 99.

The 15-story building consists of 98 residential units averaging 711 square feet and 8,247 square feet of ground-floor retail.  Units feature stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, European maple cabinetry, wood plank flooring and full-size washers and dryers.  The residential component is 99% occupied and the retail component is fully leased to 7-Eleven and Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. for the American sports clothing company’s only brick and mortar location.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ag-Tech and what it means for the Commercial Real Estate Industry (Video)

Alexandria Real Estate CEO breaks down what ag-tech means from CNBC.

Keystone Begins Construction of SORA West in Conshohocken

by Steve Lubetkin,
Keystone Property Group has begun construction of SORA West, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development in Conshohocken, PA that will house the new global corporate headquarters of AmerisourceBergen.
The global healthcare solutions company is relocating to an 11-story, 429,122-square foot office tower that will serve as an anchor for the wider SORA West development.

Designed by Gensler Architects, the office tower is the first step in building the multi-faceted, transit-oriented development centered around a vibrant public plaza. The plaza will be framed by the 200-foot tower, a 165-key hotel with rooftop restaurant and  lounge, a 1,500+-space parking structure to support these facilities, and the existing 139-year-old Conshohocken Firehouse, which will be recreated as a gastropub with an indoor/outdoor experience.
“This marks a momentous occasion for both the development of SORA West and the borough of Conshohocken, as we begin to realize the collective vision of borough leaders, the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority, and Keystone,” says Keystone Property Group CEO Bill Glazer. “The tower that begins to rise today will serve not only as a headquarters for a globally recognized, innovative company like AmerisourceBergen, but a centerpiece for a wider, mixed-use development that can fuel a new sense of vibrancy and economic growth in the borough for decades to come. ”

AmerisourceBergen is among the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the world, providing a critical link between manufacturers and healthcare providers. The company was most recently ranked #12 on the annual Fortune 500 list, with more than $160 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 21,000 workers across 50 countries worldwide.

The company will bring associates from two existing Pennsylvania locations into the downtown Conshohocken office tower, serving as its sole tenant. Occupancy is expected to begin in 2021.
“Today’s groundbreaking brings me great pride because it’s a tangible example of our commitment to our associates and the greater Philadelphia community,” says Steve Collis, chairman, president and CEO of AmerisourceBergen. “I believe that we have the best workforce in the industry, and I cannot wait to see what our future holds, especially as we continue to draw the best and brightest talent from this wonderful region. Through the AmerisourceBergen Foundation’s hyper-local grant program, we will deepen our connections in the community and partner on initiatives that support the health and vibrancy of our region.”

The AmerisourceBergen Foundation, the nonprofit charitable giving arm of AmerisourceBergen, launched a hyper-local grant program that will provide funding to community-based organizations within a five to ten-mile radius of the new headquarters.

Tenants at SORA West will enjoy convenient connections throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, from the adjacent Conshohocken SEPTA train station. The property is also located in proximity to Routes 76 and 476.

Keystone was named developer of the site in 2013 after an RFP process administered by the Borough and the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority (RDA).

SORA West is the latest large-scale mixed-use project developed by Keystone. Its portfolio also includes Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA, which is bounded by three iconic, historic properties developed by Keystone: the Curtis, the Washington, and 100 Independence Mall West.  The Curtis is an historic publishing landmark in Center City Philadelphia reimagined as a dining, shopping, residential and commercial destination, and nearby 100 Independence Mall West, the future home of Macquarie Investments, has been transformed with a dynamic indoor/outdoor experience for pedestrians, with the popular Independence Beer Garden and a La Colombe coffee café.

Additional info: confirmed Friday that the Zavino Hospitality Group will be the operator of an eventual restaurant that will open within the historic firehouse located at SORA West in Conshohocken.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Global Uncertainty Creates REIT Investment Opportunities (Video)

H&M Expands in Pottstown, PA

by Steve Lubetkin,
H & M, Hennes and Mauritz, one of the world’s largest fashion retailers, famous for offering fashion-forward apparel at affordable prices in a sustainable way, will open a new location this summer in Pottstown, PA.
Measuring approximately 23,000 square feet, the new location at Philadelphia Premium Outlets is set to open in the summer of 2019.

The new H&M location will offer Pottstown residents a one-stop shopping destination for quality clothing for the whole family, with collections for ladies, men and teens, as well as separate “store within a store” sections for accessories. The Philadelphia Premium Outlets location will also carry the H&M Kids collection for newborns to 14-year-olds.
H&M will add 20 employees at the new store and will continue a corporate commitment to sustainability. In 2013, H&M launched Garment Collecting, an in-store clothing recycling project and was the first global fashion company to implement such a program.  In 2018, H&M U.S. diverted more than three million pounds of unwanted textiles from landfills.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Timing of SOFR Transition Likely to Be Staggered (Video)

The Stoler Report - The Current State of Retail in the Region (Video)

Charter school pays nearly $14M for former Crown Holdings HQ

Natalie Kostelni Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
Isaac Newton Foundation Inc., an affiliate of MAST Community Charter School, has paid $13.7 million to buy One Crown Way, the former 238,000-square-foot headquarters of Crown Holdings Inc. in Northeast Philadelphia, according to property records.

The building and its 40 acres were sold by One Crown Properties LLC, which is affiliated with Simone Realty Inc. of Lawrenceville, N.J. It had acquired the property at 12345 Roosevelt Blvd. in 2017 for $9 million.

MAST intends to use the property for a third location and what it refers to as MAST III. It will start out this fall as a kindergarten through eighth grade school and over time expand to include a high school as well, according to the school’s website.

This will serve as the charter school’s third location. Its MAST II school will relocate to 6501 New State Road this fall from the former St. Williams Catholic School, MAST’s original location is at 1800 Byberry Road. A representative from MAST wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Charter schools in the city and suburbs are frequent buyers of real estate and may become an even bigger part of the real estate sector if proposed federal educational funding programs are altered under the current administration. The ability for a charter school to buy real estate was granted by Pennsylvania beginning in 2002. Prior to then, a third party or foundation affiliated with the school was required to purchase any real estate the charter would own. The state began issuing charters in 1997.
Full story:

9-building Center City portfolio sells

Natalie Kostelni Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
A portfolio of nine Center City apartment buildings accumulated over the last roughly 50 years has sold for $28 million.

The seller was Stolker Properties and the buyer was PMC Property Group. Both are Philadelphia real estate companies. The properties sold were: 1329 Lombard St.; 415-417 S. 10th St.; 1634-36-38 Lombard St.; and 1825, 1912 and 2011 Spruce St. Combined, the buildings had 100 apartment units, a commercial unit and four dedicated parking spaces.

Portfolios of this nature seldom come up for sale in Center City and, as a result of that, they often garner a tremendous amount of interest. The Stolker portfolio was not an exception. Nearly 200 confidentiality agreements were signed, 75 tours given and more than 20 offers were made. It was put up for sale last fall.
Full story:

Monday, April 8, 2019

Life Time Fitness to add 45,000 square feet, co-working in KoP

By Natalie Kostelni  – Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal
Life Time Fitness Inc. is planning to expand its King of Prussia facility to include its Life Time Work concept.

The Minnesota-based health club chain is proposing to construct a two-story, 45,000-square-foot building that would house co-working space next to its facility on Swedesford Road and Old Eagle School Road. It is also proposing to expand its parking, something that members say is sorely needed at the existing facility.

Earlier this year, Life Time Fitness paid $4.9 million for a 5.38-acre parcel at 750 E. Swedesford Rd. that sits adjacent to its existing King of Prussia property. That is where the company plans to build the addition.

In 2015, Life Time bought 14.5 acres from CertainTeed Corp. and built a $30 million, 150,000-square-foot resort-style Life Time Athletic fitness facility on the site that opened in June 2017. It has attracted hundreds of members and considered a success, according to people familiar with it.
Full story:

The Stoler Report - CRE Investment Sales Update (Video)

Apartment complex at former Destination Maternity site to break ground

By Natalie Kostelni  – Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal
When Alliance HSP breaks ground at the end of this month on an apartment building at Sono, it will be the culmination of a five-year effort to redevelop the Northern Liberties property.

It will also highlight how much has changed at that corner of the city over that time and the property’s redevelopment is both a reflection and cause of that. The development, called Sono, also evolved, underscoring how initial ideas sometimes don't pan out.

When the Bryn Mawr real estate firm bought the 220,000-square-foot building at 5th and Spring Garden streets for $14 million in the fall of 2014, the company had plans to turn it into creative office space. That idea wasn't embraced by the market but may have been ahead of its time. During that same period, Arts and Crafts Holdings, a Philadelphia real estate company, has been gobbling up properties in and around Sono and a few blocks away, creating an emerging office submarket. Nonetheless, the lack of office activity at the property prompted Alliance HSP to shift gears.
Full story:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Cost Segregation Strategies with Bedford (Video)

ReNew REIT Gets $159M From KeyBank to Acquire Senior Housing, Including 3 in PA

by Steve Lubetkin
KeyBank Real Estate Capital’s Healthcare Lending platform provided ReNew Investors and affiliated entities more than $159 million in acquisition financing comprised of $85 million in Fannie Mae loans, $16 million in Freddie Mac loans and a $58 million bridge loan, to acquire eight seniors housing communities in a series of four separate transactions.
The acquired properties total 813 units including independent living, assisted living and memory care in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Toledo, OH-based ReNew is a privately held company investing in independent living, assisted living and memory care communities.
KeyBank did not disclose the names and locations of the facilities involved in the transactions, but according to Real Capital Analytics, a proprietary research database that tracks commercial real estate  transactions, ReNew acquired three properties in Pennsylvania in February 2019 using Fannie Mae financing of at least $55 million, the 137-unit Keystone Villa at Ephrata, 100 N State St Ephrata, PA; 125 units at Keystone Village at Fleetwood, 501 Hoch Rd., Blandon, PA; and 247 units of senior housing at Keystone Villa at Douglasville, 1152 Benjamin Franklin Hwy., Douglassville, PA. The three properties were acquired from Capital Health Group, Media, PA.

The Real Capital Analytics database did not list transactions in Michigan and Virginia that could be connected to the KeyBank financing.

KeyBank established a corporate lending relationship with ReNew in 2018 acting as lead arranger and administrative agent for the company’s inaugural $100 million corporate credit facility, which was subsequently increased to $150 million in December 2018. The recent financings are consistent with Key’s approach of tailoring capital solutions to client’s needs and includes balance sheet lending (corporate financing, bridge lending) and permanent commercial mortgage solutions (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Life. Co, FHA). The recent financings were comprised of a mix of attractive fixed- and floating-rate debt all with extended interest-only payments, which allows ReNew to maintain a low cost of capital.
Laura Conway and Brandon Taseff of Key’s Institutional Real Estate Healthcare Group led the financing of the balance sheet lending products and teamed with Charlie Shoop of Key’s Healthcare Banking Commercial Mortgage Group who arranged the permanent financing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Philadelphia's Lehigh Valley Retail Submarket Maintains Growth and Momentum

Close to 20,000 square feet of retail space in Trexlertown was filled this week, after signing three tenants to move into vacant spaces in the suburban Philadelphia suburb.

The new tenants include the Pittsburgh-based Steel City Gyro, Mavis Tire and Supply and Active Learning Center.

The uptick in leasing interest is partly due to the nearby Hamilton Crossing, a fully occupied shopping center leased to major tenants including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target and Whole Foods. The center has spurred additional retail interest across the area.

Hamilton Crossing’s success and Trexlertown’s growth are positive signs for the Lehigh Valley market, which continues to maintain growth and momentum. The market’s retail vacancy rate is under 4 percent, and unlike nearby central and northeast Pennsylvania markets, developers haven’t shied away from bringing new space to the market.

Nearly 2 million square feet of new developments has been added to the market since 2010, during a period when new growth was slowed across the country. Further bolstering the region’s forecast are strong economic and population growth tailwinds. The Lehigh Valley market has a high concentration of wealthy suburbs with average annual incomes over $100,000 and strong buying power. The region has added close to 40,000 jobs since 2010, while the nearby Scranton and Reading markets have only added about 30,000 jobs combined.

New residents have flocked to the area due to the increase in jobs, and Lehigh’s population climbed to nearly 20,000 since 2010. Downtown Allentown’s revitalization has attracted national attention, and the area is also building up trendy, modern multifamily communities.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Colony Capital Acquires LogistiCenter at Midway for $79.5 Million in Bethel PA

Global real estate and investment management firm Colony Capital purchased a 4-Star warehouse in Bethel, Pennsylvania, from Dermody Properties. LogistiCenter at Midway sold for $79.58 million, or about $74 per square foot.

The 1.08 million-square-foot facility at 270 Midway Road comprises 222 loading docks and levelators, four drive-in bays, 54- by 50-foot column spacing and a 36-foot clear ceiling height. Developed by the seller in 2018, the single-story structure spans nearly 74 acres adjacent to I-78.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Colony Capital (NYSE: CLNY) currently has more than $43 billion in assets under management, according to its website.

REIT Sector Performance Update (Video) Pt2

AutoLenders is Launching First PA Dealership in Exton

by Steve Lubetkin
AutoLenders will move into Pennsylvania with its first dealership, following the acquisition of 305 W. Lincoln Highway in Exton, PA.

The 33,000 square foot modern auto dealership facility occupies 7.3 acres at a highly trafficked and newly signalized intersection in the growing Exton market of Chester County in Philadelphia’s Western Suburbs. The site was formerly Otto’s BMW and then MINI of Exton, and will continue to operate as an automobile sales and service facility.

AutoLenders opened in 1990 and has grown into New Jersey’s number one volume pre-owned car dealership chain, with 6 locations and a 75,000 square-foot reconditioning and certification center in Central and Southern New Jersey. AutoLenders uses its direct relationships with regional banks to cherry pick the best pre-owned, one-owner vehicles.
Additional sites in the tri-state region are being sought for the firm’s expansion plan.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Outlook for Commercial & Residential Real Estate (Video)

Coworking Strategies with WePartner (Video)

CBRE CEO Breaks Down the Commercial Real Estate Market (Video)

REIT Performance and Forecast from Nareit (Video)

Plymouth Group Acquires Former Budd Co. Plant for More than $6M

by Steve Lubetkin,
The sale of the former Budd Company site in the city’s Nicetown-Tioga section, an iconic property of Philadelphia’s industrial past that represents a massive footprint for future redevelopment was traded.

 The former Budd Company site was once a rail, automotive and aeronautics manufacturing facility employing thousands before it closed in the early 2000s.
New York-based private equity/development firm Plymouth Group acquired the site for $6.5 million

“A massive site that has sat vacant for over a decade now has potential for transformation and should now provide opportunity and employment for the neighborhood and area as a whole.” The transaction included 6 buildings totaling 1,871,911 square feet on 25.29 acres. Plans for the site are expected to include commercial and industrial repurposing as well as potential institutional, educational and residential components, Weitzman says, but no official plans have been set.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Jade Global Opens Office in Philadelphia

by Steve Lubetkin,
Silicon-Valley based enterprise technology firm Jade Global has opened an East Coast headquarters just outside of Philadelphia in North Wales, PA. The new space allows Jade Global to accommodate its growing East Coast business and reflects its flexible, efficient and scalable infrastructure.
“This is a major market for us, compared to the highly concentrated Bay Area. We like this area, the stability, the local universities with top talent, and the industry opportunities it provides” says Karan Yaramada, Jade Global CEO.”We are proud to add this office as a major addition to our San Jose HQ and offshore delivery centers in Pune and Hyderabad.”

Since acquiring Saturn Infotech, a small Oracle partner company, Jade Global has sought to strengthen its growing presence in this region. Its clientele in the Northeast include Willis Towers Watson, Colorcon, Pep Boys and Keystone Foods. Jade is on track to reach 35-40% of revenue from business outside of Silicon Valley within one year.
“It is a testament to our workforce and our community that businesses like Jade Global set up shop here,” says Denise Hull, a member of Upper Gwynedd’s board of commissioners, who shares an office in the same complex as Jade Global.

Jade Global provides enterprise business application implementations, integrations, software product engineering, Cloud services, technology advisory, testing, and managed services.

Silverstein, Arden and Migdal Partner To Acquire 1735 Market Street

by Steve Lubetkin,
Silverstein Properties, Arden Group, and Migdal Insurance, have entered into a partnership to purchase and manage 1735 Market Street, a 1.3 million square-foot, 54-story, trophy class A office building in Philadelphia, PA.
Arden Group, Silverstein Properties and Migdal purchased the building, located on 18th Street between Market Street and JFK Boulevard, for $451.6 million from Equity Commonwealth, which previously announced the sale of the building in January, without identifying the buyers. Silverstein is a full-service real estate development, investment and management company based in New York City, Arden is a privately held real estate fund manager, investor, and operator based in Philadelphia, and Migdal Insurance is an Israel-based insurance company and pension and provident fund manager.

Holliday, Fenoglio Fowler marketed the property on behalf of the seller and procured the buyer. Skadden Arps and Cozen O’Connor acted as purchaser’s legal counsel, and Locke Lord acted as seller’s legal counsel with Jones Lang LaSalle arranging the debt financing.

“I am thrilled to begin the year with the addition of this great building in one of my favorite cities,” says Larry Silverstein, chairman of Silverstein Properties. “I hope that through our investment in the building, we can continue to attract top-tier companies to Philadelphia and drive Center City forward as a major business hub in the United States.”
The tower, Philadelphia’s fifth-tallest building, is currently 92%-leased to tenants including Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Goldman Sachs Group, Boston Consulting Group, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Willis Towers Watson, and law firms Ballard Spahr and Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads.

“The building’s impressive roster of tenants, and prime location in the heart of Philadelphia attracted us to this opportunity,” says Marty Burger, CEO of Silverstein Properties. “The city is a global destination that continues to attract businesses. This acquisition marks our company’s expansion to a global destination and transit-oriented market outside of New York City. We look forward to working closely with Craig Spencer and the greater Arden organization. With more companies locating in Philadelphia and the tower’s reputation and strategic positioning, this investment offers great potential for long-term growth.”

“We are pleased to have acquired this premier investment in a robust market. Philadelphia’s dynamic job growth, millennial population growth and residential migration into Center City has created an exciting investment environment,” says Craig A. Spencer, CEO of Arden Group. “Having developed the Ritz Carlton Hotel and the Residences at the Ritz Carlton, the acquisition of 1735 Market Street marks another trophy investment in our hometown of Philadelphia. The purchase is consistent with our strategy of investing in opportunities for value creation. Silverstein and Arden’s combined strategic asset management oversight will allow us to achieve our operational goals as well as enhance appreciation of the asset over time.”

“1735 Market is another foundation stone in Migdal’s portfolio of long term holdings, and in line with our strategy to acquire best-in-class properties together with best-in-class partners,” says Jonathan Ross, head of international real estate for Migdal. “1735 Market is the best multi-let building in Philadelphia’s CBD. It is centrally located, has a very high-quality tenant roster, and features direct underground access to mass transit. This is Migdal’s third investment with world-class operator Silverstein Properties. Philadelphia-based Arden properties rounds out the partnership with local market expertise.”

Built in 1990 and designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, 1735 Market Street is widely recognized for its trademark pyramid crowned top. The tower connects the city’s historical main street (Market Street) to Comcast’s global headquarters campus directly across JFK Boulevard. It is Philadelphia’s only trophy building with direct access to public transportation and a tenant-only, underground parking garage. The building also features a newly renovated fitness center (Philadelphia Sports Club) and the recently completed Lounge @ 1735 Market, a tenant only amenity floor that offers a blend of shared work space, conference rooms, lounge space, entertainment areas and outdoor space.

On the 52nd floor of 1735 Market is the Pyramid Club, which allows paying members, including both tenants and visitors, convenient access to one of the premier private clubs in Philadelphia. At the base of the building are two parks and a winter garden.

The property’s 18th and Market Street location provides convenient access to all corners of Center City and the entire Philadelphia region. Nearly 300,000 people take public transportation into Center City every workday.  The majority commute to SEPTA’s Suburban Station, located in the concourse directly below 1735 Market. Suburban Station is the only rail stop servicing the Market West office market, and ranks highest in SEPTA Regional Rail ridership.