Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Center City’s Largest New Apartment Tower Surpasses 95% Occupancy

When PMC completed the last of its 549 luxury apartment units at Franklin Tower during the first half of 2019, the project became the largest new apartment tower to deliver in Greater Center City Philadelphia in more than 40 years.

Franklin Tower began as a gut renovation and redevelopment of the 24-story office property, One Franklin Plaza, which was vacated by GlaxoSmithKline when the pharmaceutical giant moved to the Navy Yard in 2013. PMC’s initial version of the redevelopment delivered in late 2017 and included 382 apartment units along with 200,000 square feet of office space, an indoor basketball court and an expansive rooftop terrace.

But after the office portion of Franklin Tower sat unleased for months while its apartment units continued to fill at a steady clip, PMC decided to change course in late 2018, taking the project’s 200,000 square feet of office space off the market and reconfiguring it into another 167 apartments.

The change in strategy appears to be paying off. At the end of the last quarter, the property’s total occupancy rate surpassed 95%, a milestone for Center City which has recently seen its new apartment deliveries rise to the highest levels in more than 100 years.

At various points during lease-up, Franklin Tower has offered tenants one month’s free rent on a 13 month lease, although in more recent months, this discount has been reduced to a $1,000 move-in credit, waived application and amenities fees, and a reduced deposit of $500.

Franklin Tower also has a unique advantage in that the project was a redevelopment of an existing high-rise structure, which carried lower construction costs than new ground-up developments nearby. Lower construction costs also mean the project can afford to charge more competitive rents, with one-bedroom asking rents currently averaging about $2.79 per square foot, compared to a range of new Center City deliveries that list rents between $3 to $4 per square foot.

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