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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Construction Forecast and Analysis (Video)

$50M Esports Arena to be Built in Philadelphia Sports Complex

by Steve Lubetkin,
Professional online multiplayer computer gaming is gaining additional validation as a legitimate spectator sport with the announcement Monday that Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Companies will build a $50 million, next-generation esports and entertainment venue in the heart of the Philadelphia Sports Complex.
Adjacent to Xfinity Live!, the first-of-its-kind venue will seat up to 3,500 guests and stand as the largest new-construction, purpose-built esports arena in the Western Hemisphere. Its primary tenant, the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise, is one of 20 international teams competing in the Overwatch League. According to the Overwatch League website, “Overwatch is an intense 6v6 action game that emphasizes teamwork and individual skill. Players choose heroes with diverse and powerful abilities, then clash on a variety of maps set in famous locations across the globe.”

In addition to serving as a premiere destination for competitive gaming events, Fusion Arena will also host a variety of live entertainment programming and experiences.
“We’re thrilled to introduce a venue like no other as we move forward with the next phase of development within the Philadelphia Sports Complex,” says Dave Scott, chairman and CEO, Comcast Spectacor.  “Fusion Arena gives esports fans a best-in-class venue to call home and be proud of. Beyond competitive gaming, it’s a stunning facility that will host a wide array of events.”

“It is a tremendous honor for The Cordish Companies to grow its partnership with Comcast Spectacor and bring a state-of-the-art, world-class esports and entertainment venue to the heart of the Philadelphia Sports Complex,” says Blake Cordish, principal of The Cordish Companies. “Fusion Arena will set the gold standard for competitive gaming and debut on one of the country’s most exciting platforms of sports and entertainment amid Philadelphia’s professional sports teams.”

Designed by Populous, an architecture firm with deep experience in the fast-growing esports space, Fusion Arena will include 60,000 square feet of new construction, featuring a stunning and futuristic design throughout. Construction is set to begin this summer.
Rendering of interior of Fusion Arena, esports complex planned for Philadelphia, PA
“Fusion Arena represents a watershed moment for the competitive gaming market,” says Populous senior principal Brian Mirakian. “We’re taking our 35 years of designing iconic experiences for traditional sports—settings like Yankee Stadium—and applying those same principles of design to the virtual world of gaming.”

The arena’s exterior is planned to draw inspiration from the hardware powering esports’ meteoric rise around the globe. The incorporation of industrial materials throughout Fusion Arena’s design pays tribute to Philadelphia’s heritage as the “workshop of the world.” A captivating 6,000-square-foot public entry will greet guests as they enter the space and includes 2,000 square feet of interactive media surface hovering 30 feet above them.

The technologically advanced arena will offer unique seating experiences including two balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, flexible loge boxes and exclusive suites. Additionally, nearly 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to a training facility, broadcast studio and team offices. The training facility is expected to offer unrivaled experiences and development opportunities for players.

“We are thrilled to bring this ambitious idea to life and celebrate the arrival of Fusion Arena with gaming enthusiasts throughout the region and beyond,” says Joe Marsh, chief business officer of Spectacor Gaming and the Philadelphia Fusion. “This project places esports alongside all the major traditional sports that call South Philadelphia home.”

Fusion Arena arrives just as the Wells Fargo Center is in the midst of “Transformation 2020,” an extensive, multi-year $250 million renovation initiative. Fusion Arena adds $50 million of new development within Philadelphia’s Sports Complex, complementing a transformed Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park.

Fusion Arena is the second of several announcements surrounding Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Companies’ real estate development within the Philadelphia Sports Complex. In February, the partnership announced plans for Pattison Place, an $80 million, new construction class-A office tower. Since opening in 2012, Xfinity Live! has been a prominent dining, entertainment and hospitality anchor for the region, dramatically changing the fan experience for Flyers, Eagles, Phillies and 76ers fans, as well as out of town guests. Welcoming millions of visitors a year, Xfinity Live! has energized the Philadelphia Sports Complex via year-round events and experiences including concerts, festivals, family fun days, community functions, charity events, and watch parties.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

AmeriBest Home Care Inks Deal in Philadelphia

Health services company AmeriBest Home Care signed a 17,330-square-foot lease at Arts & Crafts Holdings’ Class B office building in Philadelphia.

The 160,000-square-foot, seven-story structure at 990 Spring Garden St. was built in 1920 and renovated in 1998. Spanning an acre, the building is less than five blocks from the Spring Garden subway station.

Amazon Leases Distribution Building in Harleysville, Pennsylvania

Online retailer Amazon leased Patriarch Management’s Class A distribution building in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

The 98,000-square-foot, single-story structure at 2001 Gehman Road comprises 10 loading docks, one drive-in bay, 40- by 40-foot column spacing and a 28-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 1989, the facility spans 8.3 acres just off of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The facility is slated to open in summer 2019.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

PREIT Redeveloping Woodland Mall with New Retailers

by Steve Lubetkin,

PREIT has continued the repositioning of Woodland Mall, further establishing its presence as the premiere retail, dining and entertainment destination in Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan. The makeover includes a 90,000-square-foot retail lease in the former Sears store, and the second location for The Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Michigan.
“With the addition of a fashion department store, the region’s only Apple store and The Cheesecake Factory, this property will take its place as a trophy mall and a top-performer in our portfolio,” says Joseph F. Coradino, CEO of PREIT. “The high-impact redevelopment of Woodland Mall is delivering a diverse and robust tenant mix that aligns with our portfolio quality improvement efforts.”

First-to-portfolio retailer Von Maur, which will occupy 90,000 square feet in the former Sears space, is set to open in the fall. This location will be the high-end department store’s first in the region. Von Maur will be joined by Urban Outfitters and a series of other new-to-portfolio and new-to-market retailers at the mall. REI will open in a 20,000 square-foot outparcel in the second quarter 2019 – bringing the in-demand outdoor clothing, gear and footwear brand to the region.

The project will feature other high-impact tenants, strengthening this market-dominant asset.  As the second largest redevelopment underway in PREIT’s portfolio, Woodland Mall is expected to deliver nearly 20% NOI growth in 2020.
To elevate the dining experience and expand the mall’s trade area, PREIT has signed up The Cheesecake Factory for its second location in Michigan and its only location in more than 50 miles.  The 8,500 square foot restaurant is expected to open late October 2019. The Cheesecake Factory is known around the globe for its extensive menu, generous portions and legendary desserts.

“Since opening our first restaurant in Beverly Hills more than 40 years ago, The Cheesecake Factory has become known for creating delicious, memorable experiences for millions of guests around the country, and we’re so pleased to be opening our first restaurant in Grand Rapids,” says David Overton, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of The Cheesecake Factory. “We look forward to opening in Woodland Mall this fall.”

The Cheesecake Factory will join Black Rock Bar & Grill, an award-winning steakhouse and first-to-market experiential dining offering, with an anticipated opening this summer.

Complementing these high-quality and diverse retailers, this Fall, Woodland Mall will also welcome Tricho Salon, a salon featuring the top hair styles, designs and products as well as makeup and waxing services.  An innovator in the salon business since 2003, Tricho Salons boasts 12 locations across the US.

PREIT has continued to evolve the retail mix at the mall, with new and upgraded store prototypes from key retailers including Altar’d State, Apple and LUSH.  These stores will also be joined by newly renovated prototypes from Williams-Sonoma and Bath & Body Works, which will relocate their stores to the newly-created Von Maur wing.

During the 2018 holiday shopping season, Woodland Mall experienced strong growth in foot traffic, which is expected to be enhanced with these new additions.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

National Retail Properties Maintains Lengthy Dividend Increase Streak (Video)

US Leasing May Reach Highest Point in a Decade

U.S. office leasing is surging, and it may keep rising for at least the next year.

Expansions by technology giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook and financial firms such as Deutsche Financial Services pushed the national office vacancy rate to single digits last year for the first time since the early 2000s, falling to 9.8 percent in the final quarter of 2018 from 10.1 percent for the same time a year earlier, according to a CoStar analysis.

Total U.S. leasing volume for 2018 will probably top 400 million square feet for the fifth straight year when analysts finalize the tally, probably setting a new high for leasing in the past decade, exceeding 450 million square feet, CoStar analysts said. New York led all markets with 42 million square feet of leasing last year, followed by Los Angeles, Washington, Dallas, and Chicago.

“Given this level of leasing activity, we’re pretty confident that demand will remain pretty strong over the next year or so,” said CoStar Managing Director and Senior Economist Robert Calhoun. “Our forecast calls for vacancies to continue to fall into 2019, despite some pretty significant supply on the way.”

Keeping the market in balance is the relatively light amount of overall office construction relative to the past 15 years, helped by something of a paradox.

"Markets like New York, San Francisco, and Boston are seeing record levels of new construction, perennially oversupplied markets like Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix have seen relatively little new supply," said CoStar Managing Consultant Paul Leonard.

Construction of mega projects like the $25 billion Hudson Yards in New York City, 61-story Salesforce Tower in San Francisco and the redevelopment of Boston’s Seaport District have added millions of square feet and challenged the traditional notion that these gateway markets are “supply constrained.”

Strong leasing and low vacancies haven’t translated into impressive rent growth for the past several years, however. Rents grew just under 2 percent in 2018, the smallest amount since 2011 and well below the decade’s peak rate of 6 percent in 2015. CoStar expects rent growth to slow further, especially in the largest cities, with rents leveling out in 2021 as the economy sheds jobs.

At Home Décor Store Leases 95K SF at Former Kmart in Willow Grove, PA

by Steve Lubetkin,
At Home, a home décor superstore, has signed a long-term lease for the former Kmart at 2620 W. Moreland Road, in Willow Grove, PA. TLM Realty brokered the lease for the property owner.
The 94,500 square foot property is situated at the foot of Willow Grove Mall, a three-story, 1.2 million square foot enclosed mall. Michael Oestreich, senior vice president, TLM, spearheaded lease negotiations on behalf of ownership.

 At Home recently commenced construction of its store and plans a summer 2019 opening.
There is currently another outparcel piece being marketing with W. Moreland Road frontage for ground lease that can support up to 8,000 square feet of retail or restaurant space.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

How soon before my lease expires should I start looking for office space? (Video)

How can a seller do a complete 1031 exchange and still pull out some cash? (Video)

New Retail Leases Signed in the Lehigh and Blue Bell Area

by Steve Lubetkin,
Three lease signings we arranged at Trexlertown Plaza, 7150 Hamilton Boulevard, and the Trexler Mall, 6900 Hamilton Boulevard, Trexlertown, PA, and two leases at Centre Square Commons, 936 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA.

The landlord is Cedar Realty Trust.

The Trexlertown leases were:

  • Mavis Tire Supply will occupy an 8,546-square-foot space and is expected to open this year. Aside from tire services, Mavis Tire Supply offers brakes, alignments, suspension, shocks, struts, oil changes, battery replacement, and exhaust work.
  • Active Learning Centers will take a 7,800-square-foot space and open this year. Trexlertown Plaza is Active Learning Centers’ fifth location in the region. From infant child care to certified kindergarten, Active Learning Centers offers multiple programs and camps to help children succeed.
  • Steel City Gyro signed a lease for 2,400 square feet and is currently open to the public. The family-owned restaurant brings Mediterranean food to the shopping center and the greater Trexlertown area with a full lunch and dinner menu.

Trexlertown Plaza and the Trexler Mall are adjacent centers located right off of Hamilton Boulevard and Trexlertown Road, a major thoroughfare connecting Routes 222 and 100. The shopping centers are adjacent to Air Products’ campus, the Lehigh Valley’s largest employer. Other retailers include Hobby Lobby, Giant, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Burlington.

  • Chipotle, which opened a 2,296-square-foot-space at Centre Square Commons.
  • Tough Mudder Bootcampwill occupy a 3,800-square-foot-space for high-intensity team training (HITT) classes designed to challenge and train all fitness levels.

Centre Square Commons also is home to Aldi, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Starbucks, and Zoës Kitchen. It serves a daytime population of approximately 179,453 people.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Amboy Bank Lends $51 Million to Ex-NFL Player for New Jersey Project

Kevin Johnson, a former NFL player who is now a New Jersey real estate developer, closed on roughly $51 million in construction loans from Amboy Bank to build retail and medical offices in Burlington County.

The bank, based in Old Bridge, New Jersey, supplied loans to K Johnson Enterprises, the firm founded and led by Johnson, who plans more than 400,000 square feet of space. He is one of several former professional athletes who are involved in commercial real estate development in the Garden State.

Retired basketball great Shaquille O’Neal, a native of Newark, in partnership with Boraie Development has apartment projects in his hometown: a 33-story, 370-unit complex at 777 McCarter Highway and a 22-story, 169-unit apartment building at 1 Rector St. And ex-MLB All-Star Maurice "Mo" Vaughn, through his company Omni America, has purchased and is renovating two low-income housing complexes in Newark.

Amboy Bank's latest loan is the third in a sequence that the bank has provided K Johnson. It previously provided $10 million to finance the company's 120,000-square-foot fitness center in Bordentown, a facility called Team 85 Fitness and Wellness. It is located at 8500 K. Johnson Blvd.

The real estate firm received an additional loan from Amboy Bank totaling more than $40 million to develop medical buildings at the Team 85 campus in Bordentown, according to the bank.

“Throughout our 130-year history as an independent bank, we have never lost sight of the fact that partnering with inventive individuals based in our own local communities boosts our success and creates a positive impact across New Jersey,” Amboy Bank Chief Executive Gregory Scharpf said in a statement, “Having worked with Kevin since 2014, he has clearly demonstrated his commitment to his clients and his community, and we are pleased to provide support in this next venture.”

Friday, March 15, 2019

First Industrial Realty Trust’s 2018 Year-End Occupancy Hit Record High of 98.5% (Video)

Cambridge Landmark Snaps Up Former Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia

Newington, Connecticut-based Cambridge Landmark purchased the former 757-room Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia hotel from The Blackstone Group for an undisclosed price.

With 58,000 square feet of event space, the hotel at 201 N. 17th St. currently operates as the Philadelphia 201 Hotel under the Marriott flagship. The 30-story tower spans north of an acre in Philadelphia’s Center City district.

Cambridge Landmark’s Managing Partner Pedro Miranda said in a statement that the "acquisition demonstrates Cambridge Landmark's focus on ownership-driven hotel investment with assets in the largest U.S. domestic markets."

The hotel will regain the Sheraton brand upon completion of a $28 million renovation, which includes upgrading the rooms, creating new suites, enhancing the lobby and meeting space and adding a new Sheraton Club Lounge, according to Cambridge Landmark.

The seller, headquartered in New York, originally purchased the hotel as part of a portfolio in December 2010, CoStar data shows.

Global Co-living Brand Selects Northern Liberties for First Philadelphia Location

Global co-living brand Quarters confirmed plans to open its first Philadelphia location in Northern Liberties. The former industrial area fronting the Delaware River between Girard Avenue and Callowhill Street has become a popular neighborhood known to locals as 'NoLibs.'

Plans for the six-story co-living apartment building at 1150 N. American St. call for 186 units across 74 shared two- and four-bedroom flats, and 60,000 square feet of retail space.

Quarters’ parent company, Medici Living Group, recently raised $300 million for its U.S. expansion and approximately $1.1 billion for its European expansion. According to the firm’s press release, the two raises are set to bring 1,800 new units to the U.S. market over the next three years, and 6,000 additional units to the European market by 2024.

Medici Living Group’s Founder and Chief Executive Gunther Schmidt said in a statement that Philadelphia was among the first cities the firm looked at when planning its U.S. expansion.

Spain Property Group and Vaughan Buckley Construction broke ground on the building in Dec. 2018, and the project is slated to deliver in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Quarters also confirmed plans to open a new location in Brooklyn, which is set to come online in 2020.

AREP Rebrands Conshohocken Office Tower as 161 Washington Street, Plans Revitalization

by Steve Lubetkin
Washington, DC-based American Real Estate Partners, which last year re-entered the Philadelphia market with the acquisition of 1600 Market Street in Center City, is launching a comprehensive revitalization and rebranding of 161 Washington Street, formerly known as Eight Tower Bridge, Conshohocken, PA, about 15 miles west of the city. AREP acquired the property in October 2018 from Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corp., a private commercial real estate development firm, for $108 million, according to Real Capital Analytics, a proprietary database service that tracks commercial real estate transactions.
161 Washington Street is a 16-story, 347,000 square-foot class-A boutique office building designed by world-renowned architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The trophy tower is the tallest office building in Suburban Philadelphia, boasting superior views overlooking the Schuylkill River and ideally situated for easy access to the Main Line suburbs and Center City Philadelphia.

“161 Washington is already the premier office destination on the Main Line and this year we are taking it to the next level with a curated set of services and amenities that respond directly to the top priorities of tenants in the premier suburban Philadelphia sub-market,” says Paul Schulman, principal and chief operating officer at AREP. “For AREP, these investments in 161 Washington—and the recent acquisition of 1600 Market—reflect our ambition for growth in the Philadelphia market and across the mid-Atlantic region, with much more to come.”
AREP plans a series of major internal improvements to transform the overall building experience, including: a fully redesigned lobby complete with green wall; a new, 3rd floor amenity center with food service, conference rooms, casual work space and social lounge; and an overhaul of the 2nd floor gym. The work is expected to be complete in 2019.

The revitalization of 161 Washington Street is the latest step in AREP’s re-entry into the Philadelphia market, coming on the heels of its acquisition of 1600 Market Street in Center City in 2018. The company previously owned Two Liberty Place in Center City and intends to continue expanding its footprint in the Philadelphia area to provide unrivaled customer service and tenant experiences across more outstanding properties.

The property enhancements will position the building as a best-in-class asset in the thriving Conshohocken submarket, which already offers an abundance of features to employers seeking quality and convenience. 161 Washington’s location is directly adjacent to the SEPTA Regional Rail line – with station renovations planned this year – 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. Additionally, the property is set in the heart of one of suburban Philadelphia’s most sought-after neighborhoods, offering an abundance of retail amenities easily within walking distance, as well as a variety of premier residential communities and hotels.
The renovation is being designed by Meyer, a national architecture and interior design firm based in Ardmore, PA.
AREP and Partners Group acquired 161 Washington Street as equal partners in October 2018.

Holman Automotive Opens 145K SF Audi Fort Washington Dealership

by Steve Lubetkin
Holman Automotive, one of the largest privately-owned dealership groups in the United States, has opened Audi Fort Washington, a state-of-the-art 145,000 square-foot dealership at 428 Pennsylvania Avenue in Fort Washington, PA.
The facility features the all-new Audi Terminal Concept, a sophisticated contemporary showroom design that delivers a lifestyle-focused experience representative of the Holman values and the premier luxury of the Audi brand to consumers throughout the region.

“Our new Audi dealership in Fort Washington is absolutely stunning and we look forward to continuing to provide an exceptional sales and service experience for Audi customers throughout the area at this world-class facility,” says Brian Bates, president and CEO, Holman Consumer Services. “Customers can expect the same personalized attention and knowledgeable expertise that have long been hallmarks of the Holman Automotive family of dealerships in an innovative, visually welcoming environment that embodies Audi’s legendary styling.”
The new dealership features four levels of new and pre-owned vehicles, a first-class customer lounge with complimentary Wi-Fi, indoor and outdoor parking, and two Quattro Cafés serving premium beverages onsite. The service facility includes 30 service bays with three heated, indoor service lanes and private workstations with charging docks. The dealership is also a designated Audi Sport dealer, featuring certified product specialists and a unique showroom experience that highlights iconic models such as the Audi R8 and Audi RS 5 Coupe.

Holman Automotive is transitioning its Audi dealership operations from its Willow Grove location to the new Audi Fort Washington facility.

Lantern Portfolio Makes Record With Its $891M Trade

by Erika Morphy by
Recently Lonestar sold its Lantern Portfolio to the locally-based Morgan Properties for $890.5 million. The portfolio has 10 assets and 4,130 units that span Philadelphia and Northern Virginia, making it the largest multifamily transaction in Philadelphia to date, according to Morgan Properties.
The transaction also makes Morgan Properties the largest multifamily owner in Pennsylvania, according to Jonathan Morgan, president of the company, bringing its Pennsylvania portfolio to 9,300 units and its total unit count to 50,000 units. "The Lantern Portfolio transaction solidifies the geographic concentration in two of our core markets of suburban Philly and Northern Virginia,” he says in a prepared statement.

Morgan Properties plans to invest an additional $20 million into renovations and amenity upgrades. It financed the acquisition using internal sources of equity, and by securing long-term, fixed-rate financing, according to principal Jason Morgan.
The company has reached the size that it has through multiple large portfolio acquisitions including the Mark Center Portfolio, a $509 million acquisition in Alexandria, Va., and Chesterfield Apartments and Curren Terrace Apartments, a combined $71 million portfolio acquisition in suburban Philadelphia. Since 2012, Morgan Properties has made over $5 billion in acquisitions for a total of more than 30,000 units, according to Morgan.

The Lantern Portfolio’s Philadelphia assets consist of seven apartment communities totaling 2,346 units. Stonegate at Devon and Villas at Bryn Mawr, both situated in the Main Line neighborhoods of Devon and Bryn Mawr, total 947 units. The remaining five assets, totaling 1,399 units, are located in Conshohocken, West Chester, Downingtown, Jeffersonville, and Bensalem in suburban Philadelphia.

The Northern Virginia sub-portfolio consists of three assets totaling 1,784 units. Mount Vernon Square in Alexandria represents the largest apartment community in the Lantern portfolio, with 1,387 units. East Meadows and Village of Potomac Falls round out the Northern Virginia sub-portfolio. The properties, located in Fairfax and Sterling, total a combined 397 units.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Lulus Signs Large Industrial Lease in Palmer Township, PA

Online retailer Lulus Fashion Lounge leased The Carson Companies’ 258,232-square-foot industrial building in Palmer Township, Pennsylvania.

The single-story structure at 2505 Hollo Road comprises 41 loading docks, two drive-in bays and a 36-foot clear ceiling height. Developed by the owner in 2019, the Class A facility is less than 12 miles from Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, The Carson Companies’ current portfolio of properties owned exceeds 14 million square feet, according to its website.

First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union Reveals Plans for New HQ in Allentown

First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union plans to break ground this spring on its new corporate headquarters at Trexler Business Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The credit union revealed plans to build a new 81,000-square-foot, mixed-use building and an adjacent 5,000-square-foot office facility at 6126 Hamilton Boulevard.

Boyle Construction will serve as the construction manager on the project, and the facilities are slated to be completed by spring 2020.

"FCFCU wanted all the benefits it typically seeks for a prime retail location for its branches in this office requirement. As soon as FCFCU gave it the greenlight this project became an incredible example of how the client, township and seller came together to make this happen very quickly," Zerfass said in a statement.

FCFCU has more than 61,000 members and assets of roughly $721.5 million, according to the National Credit Union Administration.

NJ Offers $500,000 in Grants to Towns For Best Opportunity Zone 'Game Plans'

New Jersey, looking to jump start municipalities into actively encouraging development in their federal Opportunity Zones, will be offering $500,000 in grants to towns that come up with the best strategies, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

Murphy unveiled the grant plan at an Opportunity Zone Summit that was held by Choose New Jersey, a privately funded economic development group, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. State economic officials have held several such gatherings in order to educate local officials about Opportunity Zones and help them "put their best foot forward as they compete for investment dollars on a national scale,” according to the governor.

"God knows there's lots of communities that want to develop these tracts," Murphy said. "And God knows there's a lot of capital. But getting that right ... is really going to be important."

The Opportunity Zone program was established as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The goal is to drive long-term private capital investment in designated low-income urban and rural communities by providing investors -- including real estate developers -- tax breaks on capital gains. The Garden State has 169 opportunity zones in 75 municipalities.

“The opportunity to defer capital gains or ultimately expunge them completely if you hold them long enough is a big deal," Murphy said at the summit. "I am sure that the investors who are here today, they are here are because of that. This is a huge opportunity.”

The governor then announced the state is starting "a competitive grant process" that would award $100,000 each to the five communities, for a total of $500,000, that "come up with the best game plan for how they would tackle their opportunity zones." New Jersey is a home rule state, with each of its more than 500 municipalities in charge of approving development plans within their borders -- something that sparks complaints from some real estate firms, who say they are hampered by the delays caused by the red tape and dealing with local officials. The potential of getting a $100,000 grant is meant to encourage the 75 towns and cities with opportunity zones to focus on laying out possible projects, and outlining their priorities, for development in them, according to Murphy.

"I think it will have the added benefit of the communities thinking earlier than they might otherwise would have on, 'How do you see this? Is this an affordable housing opportunity? Is it commercial retail? Is it businesses that we want to attract?'" Murphy said. "Or is it some sophisticated plan to stack incentives, the federal piece with the various state pieces that we’re generating for the next generation?"

Later Monday, the state Economic Development Authority issued a press release referencing the plan Murphy had mentioned, which it called the New Jersey Opportunity Zone Challenge. The EDA said it will issue a request-for-proposals this spring.

The summit attracted more than 300 business leaders, state officials, real estate developers, investors and the mayors of several cities, including Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz. Opportunity Zones make up 51 percent of her city, according to Diaz, who said she plans to compete for one of the $100,000 grants.

Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp was a speaker at one of the summit's panels, and he said municipalities "can make a difference by streamlining the process" and expediting approvals for opportunity zone projects.

"We must be willing and able to work with investors," Mapp said.

At the summit Murphy mentioned that earlier in the day he had been in South Amboy, New Jersey, to talk about his proposed brownfields-redevelopment tax credit program, which is one prong of his overall plan for incentive reform. The state's current brownfields program is co-administered by the state EDA, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Taxation, with $14.8 million appropriated for a brownfield-site reimbursement fund for fiscal 2019.

"Under Murphy’s proposed legislation, appropriated funds would be phased out and replaced by competitive grant opportunities administered by the EDA and DEP," according to a statement from the governor's office.

CanAm Capital Partners Closes Opportunity Zone Investment in #Philadelphia

by Steve Lubetkin
CanAm Capital Partners, an affiliate of CanAm Enterprises, has closed its third private equity investment deal, a $4 million investment in the development of The Civic, a mixed-use property in Philadelphia with a project budget of approximately $26.8 million.
“Many of CanAm’s investors have been looking for new investment opportunities after their EB-5 investments are repaid,” says John Reid, director of project development at CanAm Capital Partners. “We are excited to build on our 30 years of experience and offer unique investment opportunities that produce highly attractive risk-adjusted returns to our investors beyond the EB-5 program.”

CACP’s investors may be eligible for preferential tax treatment as The Civic is in an Opportunity Zone within central Philadelphia. Developed, owned and managed by Philadelphia real estate development veteran MMPartners, The Civic will embrace the original fabric of both the building and neighborhood while providing extraordinary amenities, convenient access to transportation and stylish design that all caters to the needs of millennials.
The Civic investment is offered together with CanAm’s long-time partner, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, Philadelphia’s city-wide economic development corporation, which has 60 years of experience. CanAm has partnered with PIDC in the EB-5 program for 16 years.

With more has more than 30 years of experience, CanAm Enterprises has raised and invested more than $2.8 billion since inception.

According to CanAm’s website, the EB-5 Visa is an employment-based immigrant visa category that provides permanent resident status in the United States. Foreign nationals who make an investment of $500,000 or $1 million in a new commercial enterprise in a designated Targeted Employment Area that creates at least ten new jobs for US workers can obtain residency in the US. Once the job creation requirement is met, the conditions are removed and investors obtain unconditional permanent residency.
In response to demand from investors seeking new investment opportunities with attractive risk-adjusted returns, CanAm established CanAm Capital Partners to provide select private investment opportunities focused on geographies and assets where CanAm has informational, operational and other competitive advantages.

CACP makes project-level capital investments with an average 3-5 year holding period and generally target a +10% annual internal rate of return combined with cash distribution upon stabilization.

Cambridge Landmark Acquires Former Sheraton Philadelphia

by Steve Lubetkin,
Cambridge Landmark, a hotel-focused private equity company, acquired the former Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia, a 757-room full service hotel located in Center City and two blocks from the Pennsylvania Convention Center from The Blackstone Group. Financial terms were not disclosed, but according to Real Capital Analytics, a proprietary research database that tracks commercial real estate  transactions, Blackstone has owned the property since 2011.

The hotel currently operates as the Philadelphia 201 Hotel under the Marriott reservation system. With the closing of this transaction, a new franchise agreement has been signed with Marriott International for the property to regain the Sheraton brand upon completion of a $28-million renovation focused on upgrading the rooms, creating new suites, enhancing the lobby and meeting space, and adding a new Sheraton Club Lounge.

“This acquisition demonstrates Cambridge Landmark’s focus on ownership-driven hotel investment with assets in the largest US domestic markets,” says Pedro Miranda, managing partner. “This property holds great potential, with its premier location in one of the most vibrant cities in the United States. With the forthcoming renovations and refurbishments, we expect this hotel to drive long-term value, and be an integral part of the expanding Cambridge Landmark portfolio.”
Located in the Center City district, the Philadelphia 201 Hotel is the second largest hotel in Philadelphia. It is situated just two blocks from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and walking distance from Love Park, the Franklin Institute and the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art. The property features 58,000 square feet of event space, an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, and a restaurant and lounge.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Multifamily and Housing from NAR/Deloitte/Situs RERC's Expectations and Market Realities Outlook (Video)

Should I deal directly with the Landlord or Use Tenant Representative (Video)

27-Unit Multi Family Trade in Secane, PA

by Steve Lubetkin,
 Ashland Terrace was sold. It is a 27-unit apartment property comprised of 6 one-bedroom units and 21 two-bedroom units, at 711 Ashland Avenue, Secane, PA, an unincorporated community in Ridley Township and Upper Darby Township, Delaware County. The well-maintained property sold for $1.85 million.

The long-term owner had made several significant upgrades including substantial roof work, replacing boilers, and updated kitchens over the years. The buyer, a regional company, was secured and represented by the Philadelphia-based investment sales team as well.
“The property was only on the market for 30 days and generated 15 tours. The response we received from the market is reflective of the continued demand for multifamily properties, especially properties with upside in rents, such as Ashland Terrace.”

REIT Market Minute: March 2019 (Video)

Retail Forecast & Review with Hines (Video)

Office, Industrial, & Retail from NAR/Deloitte/Situs RERC's Expectations and Market Realities (Video)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

#Philadelphia Among Top US Markets for Life Sciences Sector

by Steve Lubetkin,
The US life sciences industry and the real estate that it occupies have ridden a wave of momentum into this year that has positioned various industry hubs—including Philadelphia—for continued growth.
Numerous indicators point to robust expansion for the life sciences industry, including the 86 percent increase in venture-capital funding for US life sciences companies to $15.8 billion for the year ended in September from the previous year. Additionally, life sciences lab space under construction in the industry’s five largest US markets expanded by 101 percent last year to six million square feet.

That momentum has several markets rising in the ranking of the top established and emerging life sciences hubs.
In Philadelphia, for example, funding surged in 2018 to its highest level since 2007, which will have a significant impact on local life sciences employment. Much of that momentum exists in Downtown Philadelphia, including the recently completed 3675 Market Street, which is anchored by the region’s first location of the Cambridge Innovation Center. Other success stories were expansions by Spark Therapeutics at Brandywine’s Schuylkill Yards development and WuXi AppTec at the Navy Yard.

“Philadelphia is undoubtedly one of the nation’s key clusters fueling the life sciences revolution,” says Ian Anderson. At the same time, the region has been lagging some of the exponential growth witnessed in hubs like Cambridge. Nonetheless, 2018 was a year of huge progress that should translate into accelerating future growth.”

The report focuses on the human life-sciences industry, which encompasses manufacturing, testing and research-and-development work in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

It was analyzed and ranked the top established life sciences hubs by weighing four main criteria for each market: number of scientists in key industry categories, industry funding for local life sciences companies, size and long-term growth of their life sciences workforce, and their inventory of industry lab space.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Capital Funding Group Sells Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Apartment Complexes

Baltimore-based Capital Funding Group sold two apartment complexes totaling 262 units in the Philadelphia metropolitan area to ReNew REIT for an undisclosed price.

Keystone Villa at Fleetwood at 501 Hoch Road in Blandon spans 5.1 acres. Built in 2011, the 4-Star property comprises a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 430 to 786 square feet in a three-story building.

The Keystone Villa at Ephrata complex at 100 N. State St. in Ephrata comprises one-bedroom units averaging 733 square feet in two, four-story buildings. The garden-style community was developed in 2014 on 4.5 acres.

Ocwen (formerly DiTech) closing Fort Washington facility

Lost another one to Ditech!

By Jeff Blumenthal  – Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal
As part of a cost-cutting plan to help the company return to profitability after five consecutive annual losses, Ocwen Corp. said it will close its Fort Washington office, with the 125 employees working there subject to either layoffs or transferring to a South Jersey facility.

While a spokesman did not offer a specific number, he said some of the employees working at 1100 Virginia Drive will be laid off and others will transfer to the Mount Laurel, N.J. office the mortgage company added last year via the $360 million acquisition of competitor PHH Corp.

Spokesman Dico Akseraylian said the Fort Washington site will close in September and all impacted employees will be notified by March 15. Ocwen employees were told of the pending changes last week. Impacted employees will receive 60 days notice, a severance package and career transition assistance. Akseraylian said exit dates will vary through the course of the year.

Akseraylian said Owcen leases over 77,000 square feet there but declined to disclose future plans for the site.
Full story:

Highlights from Expectations and Market Realities Outlook Report 2019 (Video)

Black Bear Sports Group Buys Warminster Hockey Rink

by Steve Lubetkin,
Black Bear Sports Group has acquired the Revolution Ice Gardens, 1621 Mearns Rd., Warminster, PA. The arena houses two NHL-size ice sheets and is home to the Philadelphia Revolution Hockey Club, the Lady Patriots Hockey Club and various local high schools. BBSG was founded by Murry Gunty in 2015.
“The Revolution Ice Gardens is the hockey hub of North Philadelphia and Bucks County,” says Gunty. “Under the direction of Chris Kanaly, this rink has produced world-class hockey players like NHL draft pick Cayden Primeau. We are excited to help Chris grow the programs and in particular, to now be able to offer local youth players at the Revolution Ice Gardens a path to college hockey through our network of USHL, NAHL and EHL junior hockey teams.”

“The arena is the 11th ice rink (20 sheets of ice) purchased by BBSG along with its three junior hockey teams,” says Ryan Scott, vice president of BBSG. “Revolution is a great complement to our existing rinks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and we look forward to expanding our operations into Eastern PA.”
“Black Bear Sports Group owns junior hockey teams in the nation’s top leagues scouted by the NCAA and NHL,” says Chris Kanaly, general manager of the Revolution Elite Youth Hockey Club. “The new affiliation between Revolution Youth Elite Hockey and Black Bear Sports Group creates a unique opportunity for our players to climb the ladder of development through junior hockey into college and pro that no other club in the city can offer.”

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Net Lease Tenant Preference in Philly Swings to Convenience Stores, Gas Stations #STNL - Podcast

Pennsylvania's I-78/I-81 Corridor Gets 11 of Largest Industrial Deals in 2018

by Steve Lubetkin,
E-commerce and logistics companies claimed a larger share of the 100 largest industrial-and-logistics leases signed in 2018, and the latest report on industrial leasing activity says Pennsylvania’s I-78/I-81 corridor had 11 of the largest deals, totaling more than 11.8 million square feet.

“The Pennsylvania I-78/I-81 corridor has been a beneficiary of the surging demand for e-commerce and logistics space. In 2018, our region was one of the leaders in the US in large format leases signed by e-commerce companies. To accommodate the demand, several parcel hubs and last mile delivery facilities came online along the corridor. We expect this trend to continue as consumers shift to e-commerce and demand immediate delivery”.

Last year’s industrial-leasing activity in the US found that 61 of the largest 100 leases were signed by e-commerce companies and logistics firms for a total of 61.5 million square feet vs. 52 leases last year for 43.2 million square feet.

The two are related in that many logistics companies, specifically third-party logistics providers, handle e-commerce distribution for their clients.
Regardless of industry, the largest industrial leases got even larger last year. The largest 100 from last year – spanning uses such as e-commerce, logistics, manufacturing, food and beverage, technology and retailing – totaled 19 percent more space than the largest of 2017.

Last year’s largest industrial leases were spread across 32 markets, with many clustering in leading logistics hubs.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Winning Busines 2019 - Time Kills Deals (Video)

Current Trends Impacting Office Property Values via Morningstar Credit Ratings (Video)

Jefferson Group Delivers Mount Laurel, NJ, Luxury MF Near Philadelphia

by Steve Lubetkin,
McLean, VA-based Jefferson Apartment Group, a multifamily developer and operator specializing in premier apartment communities throughout the East Coast, says the first phase of Jefferson Mount Laurel is completed, with residents moving into the new community in Mount Laurel, NJ, about 15 miles from Philadelphia, PA.
The 490-unit apartment community is a joint venture with Northwestern Mutual, and JAG is providing the property management services. The project is the second in a series of recent deliveries from JAG in Greater Philadelphia.

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of another development project in the Philadelphia market as we continue to grow our presence here,” says Drew Chapman, senior vice president and development partner at Jefferson Apartment Group. “We see enormous potential in the Philadelphia market having successfully opened Maybrook in late 2017, and now Jefferson Mount Laurel, with another project in Exton, PA, delivering within a year that will bring our Greater Philadelphia managed portfolio to over 1,600 units by year-end. So to say it will be an exciting year for us in the Philly market would be an understatement.”
The Mount Laurel apartments range from one-bedroom up to two-bedroom plus den layouts. The garden style buildings offer controlled access entry with an elevator in most buildings. Residences feature nine-foot ceilings, chef-style kitchens with stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops, plank flooring, full-size washer and dryer, and private balconies and patios. Additional, optional offerings include private entrances and garages with remote control access.

Set on a tree-lined 50-acre parcel, Jefferson Mount Laurel offers scenic wooded views and more than 7,000 square feet of best in class amenity space typical of JAG-quality, class A apartment living. The community boasts a fitness center, resort-style swimming pool, sports court, a putting green, playground, dog park, pet spa, gardening plots, and over a mile of walking trails on-site.

Other features include an outdoor living area with fire pit, grilling stations and movie screen, a courtyard with fountain and lawn games, a resident lounge featuring a stunning double-sided fireplace, billiards, foosball, and shuffleboard, and charging stations for electric vehicles.

What are (STNL) Single Tenant Net Lease Building? (Video)

Phase One of The Hamilton, 10-Story, 279 Unit Mixed Use Tower, Opens in Logan Square

by Steve Lubetkin
The Harman Group, which specializes in structural engineering and parking planning and design, says phase one of The Hamilton, a 10-story, 279-unit mixed-use residential tower on the Community College of Philadelphia’s campus in Logan Square, has opened.
The Harman Group provided structural engineering and parking planning and design services for the tower, which was developed by Radnor Property Group in partnership with CCP and designed by MY Architecture.

The Hamilton was built on top of the site’s original foundation as well as a portion of its existing garage structure with cold-formed load-bearing construction and hollow core plank. The project also utilized existing assets to create an underground parking garage. Geared towards graduate students attending nearby Philadelphia schools and young professionals, units range from about 300-950 square feet. The development features ample resident amenities, ground floor retail, and a community courtyard.
“The Harman Group’s extensive experience with overbuilds allowed for a more practical use of this site,” says Al Meyer, senior project engineer for The Harman Group. “By threading a new lateral system through the existing garage, we were able to minimize Radnor Property Group’s costs, which translated to lower rents for the property.”

“The Hamilton is a modern, mixed-use property that meets the needs of the college and the surrounding neighborhood,” says Dave Yeager, president of Radnor Property Group. “Radnor Property Group is proud to serve the community at large by sustainably transforming this formerly vacant building into a vibrant, amenity-driven hub.”

Construction on phase two, a 16-story, 210-unit mixed-use residential tower, is expected to start later this year.