Thursday, January 30, 2020

New Jersey's Industrial Demand Hits Uncharted Territory

New Jersey's soaring industrial market is in uncharted demand territory, making it difficult to predict when the leasing will cool, local executives say. And they point out that it comes as the state deals with a negative real estate issue, criticism of its programs to award tax breaks to get companies to do business in New Jersey.

The commentary on two of the hottest topics in the Garden State's commercial real estate industry came during a discussion at the annual meeting of the New Jersey chapter of NAIOP in Short Hills. The trade group hosted a panel on the real estate outlook for the coming year, with the logistics sector in the Garden State and its lapsed corporate tax credits on the agenda.

New Jersey, because of its proximity to New York City and area ports, as well as being centrally located in a densely populated region, has been a big beneficiary of the explosion of demand for warehouse and distribution space. That demand has been driven by the growing popularity of online shopping, spurred by e-commerce giant Amazon, as well as other companies and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers looking to offer quick delivery to demanding consumers.

The phenomenon has resulted in record low vacancy rates and rising rents for industrial properties in New Jersey. But panelist Andrew Merin, a vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield's office in East Rutherford, New Jersey, questioned how long the sector's hot streak can go on.

During his career Merin said he witnessed a run-up in the state's office market, "with phenomenal growth," and that he saw apartment properties "go off the charts" five years ago.

“However, in my 40-plus years I have never seen anything that rivals the velocity and the change that we’ve seen in the industrial market,” he said. “So we’re seeing things that are unprecedented ... I don’t know how long this is going to last because at some point all things peter out.”

Industrial Predictions

Industrial tenants could be leasing space "out in front of demand," which happened to the Jersey City, New Jersey, office market when it was at its height years ago, according to Merin. Large banks were inking 20-year leases for entire buildings on the waterfront, and ended up subleasing some of that space, he said.

“Now we’re seeing e-commerce people taking huge warehouses depending on the future, so it is unbelievable,” Merin said.

One of his fellow panelists raised the same question but predicted logistics will remain strong this year, with rents continuing to increase.

"The big question is is this the beginning of a trend that’s going to have a long runway to it, or does the market appear to be overheated?" said Ed Russo, president of Russo Development, based in Carlstadt, New Jersey.

The family-owned firm specializes in warehouse and distribution facilities, particularly in Northern New Jersey's Meadowlands area. Russo Development and Forsgate Industrial Partners of Teterboro, New Jersey, are developing Kinsgland Meadowlands, more than 3 million square feet of industrial buildings, on speculation, with no signed tenants yet.

Russo remains bullish on the industrial sector, predicting that rents for distribution sites could hit an "unprecedented" $20 a square foot.

Tax Break Fallout

New Jersey's commercial real estate industry has vocally supported the passage of new tax incentive programs for the state as quickly as possible, joining other business groups in saying the tax breaks are critical to attract and retain companies.

The former programs were administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which has come under fire and investigation for allegedly awarding incentives to companies that didn't deserve them. The old programs expired June 30 last year, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy refused to extend them. He wants to overhaul the tax breaks, but hasn't been able to reach a consensus with state legislators on changes. The criticism over the incentives has made front-page headlines.

Panelist Christopher Paladino, president of New Brunswick Development Corp., said he expects the state will have new tax incentive programs by the spring. But New Jersey will have its work cut out for it in terms of rehabilitating its reputation in corporate America, in places like New York or Philadelphia or Chicago with companies that may be weighing relocating to or expanding in the Garden State, according to Paladino.

“There’s been so much damage done to New Jersey’s reputation," he said.

Nonetheless, while incentives are important to businesses, he said he'd "never had a CFO or a COO or a head of human resources say to me at the first meeting, ‘What are the incentives?’ ”

Catering to Workforce

Employers are more concerned about having access to an educated workforce, or forging relationships with institutions of higher learning like Rutgers University and Princeton University, according to Paladino.

Higher rents are part of the price that companies are willing to pay to draw employees, according to Merin. He cited the recent announcement that Big Four accounting firm Deloitte was relocating one of its offices in suburban Parsippany, New Jersey, to the more urban Morristown, New Jersey. Morristown boasts a train station and a lively downtown scene with many restaurants, bars and stores.

Deloitte could have stayed in Parsippany and continued to pay about $30 a square foot in rent, but instead it is opting to pay $55 a square foot to move to Morristown, according to Merin.

"That huge differential in the rent meant nothing" because Deloitte is striving to attract and retain quality employees, he said.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fisher Phillips Relocates from Radnor to Philadelphia

by John Jordan
National workplace law firm Fisher Phillips is relocating its Philadelphia area office from Radnor, PA to 21,000 square feet of space at Two Logan Square in Center City here.

The law firm has signed a lease for space on the 12th floor of the 35-story tower building and expects to take occupancy in April. The firm’s current Philadelphia area office is located at 150 N. Radnor Chester Road in Radnor, PA.

Chris Stief, managing partner Fisher Phillips’ Philadelphia office, says, “The move will provide us a space at the core of Philadelphia’s business and legal markets and positions us to attract even more talent at all levels, including partners, associates and staff. Our goal was to find a space that uniquely positions us for our next decade of growth in Philadelphia.”

He adds that the move will increase its presence in Philadelphia by approximately 6,000 square feet. Fisher Phillips established its presence in Philadelphia with the opening of its office in Radnor in 2007. The firm’s Philadelphia area office has grown from six to 23 attorneys and is home to national leadership of Fisher Phillips’ Employment Defense Litigation Practice Group, Employee Defection and Trade Secrets Practice Group, International Employment Practice Group, the Data Security and Workplace Privacy team, the firm’s E-Discovery Committee and the firm’s Government Relations subsidiary, FP Advocacy.
Fisher Phillips recently announced the opening of two new offices in Nashville and Detroit, and the intent to further expand its Los Angeles presence with an office in the San Fernando Valley. In 2019, the firm opened a Pittsburgh office, bringing on a team of three workplace safety partners.

The new 4,000-square-foot Nashville office is located at 3310 West End Ave. Fisher Phillips signed the lease in November and the firm began occupying the space in late December.

Earlier this month, the law firm had joined forces with The Murray Law Group, a boutique labor, employment, and immigration firm located in metropolitan Detroit. The combined firm is now located at 31780 Telegraph Road, Bingham Farms, MI and became the firm’s 36th office location.

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Philadelphia Based Alterra Bets on Outside Storage Properties as a New Investment Strategy

As demand for industrial real estate spreads beyond warehouses into outside storage for trucks and heavy equipment, Alterra Property Group is lining up major investors to amass a portfolio of these low-cost utilitarian properties.

Alterra, based in Philadelphia, and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management formed a $300 million joint venture to buy properties they're calling industrial outside storage, or IOS for short. Alterra considers these sites to be untapped assets within the broader traditional industrial property sector. It comes as investments in other types of industrial real estate, including self-storage, data centers and biotech labs, have been increasing in recent years.

The Alterra-led group seeks to add another category by acquiring properties leased to tenants needing two to 50 acres for outside storage and who only require a small building – about 20,000 square feet or so. Such properties sell in a range from a few hundred thousand to a few million dollars, far less than the typical institutional investor target that can reach into the tens of millions of dollars or more.

Ownership of such properties is highly fragmented. Most landlords are local and private, with outside storage tenants ranging in activity from truck parking, port-related container storage, equipment rental, building materials and petrochemical delivery. But one thing they have in common: There's a finite supply, which means their value may be poised to increase.

"The U.S. economy is based on something being manufactured in one place and consumed in a different place. Those goods make several stops between the plant and the point of consumption," Leo Addimando, founder and managing partner at Alterra, told CoStar. It is those stops in between on which Alterra is focusing.

Private owners and owner/users have made up about $7.6 billion of the five-year total of $10.1 billion in property purchases matching Alterra's criteria, according to CoStar data. Such sales averaged about $1.8 billion a year from 2015 to 2018 but jumped to $2.6 billion last year.

Such properties are critical for supporting the growth of online shopping and new construction. For warehouses to be useful, shipping containers, semitrailers and rail cars are needed to move goods around. For new buildings to be built, materials and equipment need be shipped to construction sites.

"All of that has its own support real estate needs," Addimando said, "and so we're buying those yards. At the end of the day, we're basically buying the growth of the economy."

The goal of the joint venture is to build a portfolio valued at several hundred million dollars, centered on single-tenant leases, and that capitalizes on the shrinking supply of outside storage sites in growing markets.

Growth Areas

Users of such locations have specific location requirements, according to Addimando. They want to be in the path of growth.

"In a lot of cases, they are getting priced out of places where they naturally need to be to access their customers," Addimando said. "If you're the landlord, you're really in a win-win situation. You feel good because if they leave it empty, it's just worth a lot more money as something else."

Finding yield beyond the traditional property segments is growing, according to Alterra and J.P. Morgan. Property types outside the four traditional sectors of office, multifamily, retail and industrial distribution centers now account for about 40% of the publicly traded real estate investment trust market.

Publicly traded REITs such as Terreno Realty, Rexford Industrial Realty and National Retail Properties acquire and own such properties but not as a primary focus. Such holdings make up 10% or less of their holdings.

And publicly traded REITs have acquired only about $309 million of properties in the past five years with criteria similar to what Alterra is targeting, according to CoStar data. But their activity is growing. They acquired nearly $130 million of similar properties last year, up from $37 million in 2018.

Other institutional and private equity funds too have acquired such properties but as a smaller part of their portfolios. Their five-year total came to about $433 million, according to CoStar data. Their 2019 volume of $155 million doubled their average annual volume of the previous four years.

"If you think back 10 years, single-family homes were not an institutional asset class," Addimando said. "Go back 20 years, mobile homes were not an institutional asset. If you go back 30 years, self-storage was not an institutional asset class. We strongly believe this is the next new category of real estate to become less fragmented and more institutionally owned."

Since forming the joint venture, the group has already acquired four properties. The latest was a $4.2 million purchase of 3800 N. Powerline Road in Pompano Beach, Florida. Maxim Crane Works sold and leased back the 3.37-acre property with a 14,000-square-foot building.

Crunch Fitness Opens New Location in Philadelphia

Crunch Fitness, a fitness center chain headquartered in New York, is opening a new location in Philadelphia.

The gym has leased 30,619 square feet at Northeast Shopping Center. Located at 9165-9175 Roosevelt Blvd., the center spans 42.5 acres less than two miles from Northeast Philadelphia Airport.

Crunch Fitness currently has more than 300 gyms worldwide.

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Monday, January 27, 2020

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New Jersey Medical Device Maker Chooses New Headquarters

A medical device company is relocating its global headquarters to Marlton, New Jersey, from its current location in Mount Laurel in the Garden State.

Impulse Dynamics has signed a long-term lease for 21,000 square feet at 50 Lake Center, an 88,800-square-foot Class A office building in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area, according to the broker on the transaction, Avison Young. The property is owned by Twenty Lake Management in New York City, according to CoStar data.

Impulse Dynamics is now based at the Gateway Business Park at 523 Fellowship Road in Mount Laurel. It plans to make the roughly 3-mile move in the second quarter this year.

The firm recently announced it had completed an $80.25 million Series D financing with new investors. The proceeds will mainly be used to facilitate the U.S. commercialization of the Optimizer Smart, a Food and Drug Administration-approved implantable device for treating chronic heart failure that's been proven to strengthen that vital organ and help it beat more forcibly.

The Marlton property, constructed in 2006, features ribbon glass construction, a two-story granite atrium, an expansive window line, scenic lake views, on-site walking/running trails, and ample parking. The four-story building is on a nearly 12-acre site that's on Route 73, just a mile north of the Route 70 intersection and 3 miles from the New Jersey Turnpike, according to Avison Young.

New Industrial Supply Finally Outpaces Demand

By Erika Morphy
Last year new supply in the industrial market finally surpassed demand and is expected to continue to do so for the next two years. However, industrial will remain a hotly-contested asset class by investors with North American absorption forecasted to be a healthy 459.9 million square feet through 2021 and a vacancy that will remain anchored around the 5% mark. Meanwhile, asking rents are expected to increase by 6.8% and reach a new nominal high of $6.95 per square foot by year-end 2021—up from $6.51 psf in 2019.

In addition, it adds that “Over the next several years, we expect underlying industrial market liquidity to continue to grow as investors seek to deploy record levels of capital with an increasingly favorable allocation directed towards industrial assets.”

Industrial Cooled Off In 2019
There were several factors that led to the tipping point for industrial supply-demand last year, in which new supply registered 336.3 million square feet compared to 262.1 million square feet, respectively. Last year also saw a rough start with weather-related construction delays causing a ripple effect throughout the rest of the year, thus slowing tenant occupancy. Also, a lack of quality vacant space continues to restrict net occupancy growth.

Additionally, at the start of 2019, some owner-occupiers were concerned that the market would slow after the banner year of 2018—concerns that likely caused some of the slowdown. Also, it notes, because 2018 was a record year for industrial absorption, absorption numbers for 2019 appeared low compared to the past few years.

The Years Ahead
Pressure to remain high on industrial occupancy and rent growth levels across North America, driven by a combination of strong consumer confidence, wage inflation, low unemployment, and an anticipated increase in e-commerce spending at multiple times the rate of overall spending.

It is also projected that new leasing activity will be driven in large part by traditional and online retailers as well as third-party logistics providers as consumers demand for goods at a grander and faster scale.

Some trends from 2019 and previous years will still remain in play, though. They also predicts that “some of the hottest and most talked about facilities types in the industrial world” will include cold-storage facilities, in-fill/last mile facilities, and multistory warehouses.

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Philadelphia, Southern NJ Commercial Real Estate Markets Ended 2019 on High Note

by John Jordan
Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey office markets held steady in 2019, with strong leasing volume and low vacancy rates.

In the firm’s fourth quarter 2019 report on the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets, although leasing activity was down overall, vacancy rates remained low and gross leasing absorption was positive, although trending lower when compared quarter-over-quarter.
The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market rose slightly to 8.7%. The office vacancy rate is still near a 20-year low, and below that of comparable major cities.

The industrial sector in Philadelphia remains very strong.  The fourth quarter vacancy rate stood at 5.4% at the end of the fourth quarter, while net absorption was at 5.4 million square feet. Rent growth of 4.8% has far exceeded the long-term average of 1.7%.

In terms of the markets the firm covers in Southern New Jersey (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester)  that there were approximately 204,077 square feet of new office leases and renewals executed in the fourth quarter, which was down compared to the previous quarter. However, the sales market stayed active, with about 1.5 million square feet on the market or under agreement. Completed sales more than doubled from the previous quarter, at approximately 781,130 square feet trading hands.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 65% of all deals for the three counties surveyed. Overall, gross leasing absorption for the fourth quarter was in the range 85,000 square feet, up about 20% over third quarter absorption levels.

“CRE performance was good by almost every measure as the year wound down. It seems like when one sector or part of the region underperforms, the rest of the market keeps moving in the right direction.”
Overall office vacancy in the market was approximately 12% at the end of the fourth quarter, which was up half a point from the previous quarter. This is still near a 20-year low.

The report notes that average rents for Class A and B product continued to show strong support in the range of $10.00-$15.00-per-square-foot triple net or $20.00-$25.00-per-square-foot gross for deals completed during the quarter. Those averages have hovered near this range for more than a year.

Office vacancy in Camden County rose to 12% for the quarter, due in part to the return of a few large blocks of space to the market.

Burlington County’s office vacancy also stood at 12%. Burlington’s vacancy rate also jumped earlier in the year due to several large blocks of space returning to the market.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Philadelphia Investor Buys Grocery-, Gym-Anchored Shopping Center for $18.3 Million

Philadelphia-based Gorman & Co. has purchased the grocery- and gym-anchored Larchmont Commons retail center in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, from RPC Real Estate and Merion Realty Partners’ asset management group for $18.25 million, or about $142 per square foot.

Financing was arranged of $12.9 million, 10-year, fixed-rate acquisition loan with an institutional capital source on behalf of the new owner.

The 128,172-square-foot center at 3105-3117 Route 38 is anchored by Aldi, Planet Fitness and Dollar Tree. Major tenants at the 88% leased property include Hair Cuttery, The UPS Store and Kumon Learning Center.

The center spans 24.7 acres less than 12 miles from the Philadelphia CBD.

"There has been a steady increase in investor demand for grocery-anchored product within the greater Philadelphia marketplace, resulting in correlating cap-rate compression since the start of 2019," Munley said in a statement. "With the steady flow of new capital we have witnessed entering the retail investment market, we anticipate that to continue into 2020."

For more than 30 years, the principals of Gorman & Co. and its predecessor companies have been engaged in the land acquisition and ground up development of more than 3 million square feet of office, retail, residential, self-storage and mixed-use properties throughout the region with an aggregate value of more than $400 million, according to its website.

Essex County Unveils Plans for New 150,000 Government Office Building

New Jersey’s Essex County is advancing plans to construct a 150,000-square-foot office building at its government complex in downtown Newark, the county seat.

The development is part of a series of updates and expansions that Essex County is making to its properties in New Jersey's largest city, which has also seen a surge in the private real estate development of both office and multifamily buildings.

The latest project is slated for what is now a jurors' parking lot on the south side of the Essex County Hall of Records center. The planned building, with its front entrance to face Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, is expected to house 11 courtrooms for tax court and space for the county clerk, board of elections, superintendent of elections, surrogate's office and board of taxation, according to a statement from Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr.

Plans for the new building also include cafeteria space large enough to accommodate the entire complex and would replace the current cafe on the Hall of Records' third floor. A pedestrian bridge would connect the new building to the records hall.

County officials outlined details of their plans for the development Wednesday at a news conference that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy attended. At the event, DiVincenzo said he's proposing to name the building the Essex County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Building in honor of the legendary civil rights leader.

The county has awarded Comito and Associates a $2.3 million professional services contract to design the building. A resolution to award a publicly bid construction contract is on the agenda for an Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting on Feb. 26.

The county is funding the project, scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2021, through its capital budget. The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the construction.

"Many of the visitors who come to the Hall or Records to conduct business or search for records have a difficult time navigating our hallways and finding the offices they need," DiVincenzo said in a statement. "When the Superior Court was looking for modern space, we realized this was an opportunity to create a state-of-the-art building where we could consolidate our constitutional offices and create an atmosphere that was more user-friendly. Visitors already are taking time out of their busy schedules to come to the Hall of Records; we want to make it as easy as possible to get to the office they need."

The new King building is part of a multiphase county project to provide additional office space and modern facilities at the Hall of Records complex. Right now, a 900-car deck for employee parking is under construction on West Market Street, and the renovation of two office buildings at 320-321 University Ave. is underway. That location will serve as the new headquarters for the Essex County Division of Family Assistance and Benefits. Both projects are expected to be completed this year.

Essex County dedicated an 8-foot bronze statue of King and named a plaza after him in 2015. That original statue will be incorporated into the proposed building. In addition, a new 16-foot bronze statue of King will be commissioned and placed at the front entrance to the planned building on King Boulevard.

Brian O’Neill to build cell and gene manufacturing facility in King of Prussia

by Katie Park, Philadelphia Inquirer
Brian O’Neill, the Main Line developer who founded the substance abuse treatment chain Recovery Centers of America, plans to develop a $1.1 billion cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility in King of Prussia.

The company, which O’Neill has named the Center for Breakthrough Medicines, is part of the Discovery Labs, a 1.6 million-square-foot, $500 million biotechnology, health-care, and life sciences office complex he is building in an industrial section of King of Prussia. The center will claim 680,000 square feet of the Discovery Labs.

The goal of the center, its management said Wednesday, is to pursue cures for diseases including cystic fibrosis, hemophilia A, and certain cancers by working with scientists, large pharmaceutical companies, and academic and governmental institutions.

Health-care investment management firm Deerfield Management of New York City co-founded the center with O’Neill.

“Today, brilliant scientists are advancing an unprecedented number of gene and cell therapy drug candidates," Alex Karnal, Deerfield’s partner and managing director and a Discovery Labs board member, said in a statement. “The real tragedy, however, is a scarcity of manufacturing know-how, which is complex and expensive.”

The Center for Breakthrough Medicines will address what it regards as a “shortfall” in cell and gene therapy manufacturing, the company said, as well as a scarcity of products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Discovery Labs is managed by Radnor-based MLP Ventures, formerly the O’Neill Properties Group. The complex has announced its plans to remake the 1 million-square-foot Upper Merion West facility formerly occupied by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and 640,000 square feet at the nearby office park Innovation Renaissance.

In 2018, MLP Ventures bought a portion of Innovation Renaissance from Wayne-based Liberty Property Trust for $77 million. Liberty, the company that built the Comcast Towers in Philadelphia, has since arranged to be acquired by San Francisco’s Prologis Inc. for $12.6 billion.

Major construction continues at the Discovery Labs, which plans suites for universal cell processing, viral vector production, and cell banking for the Center for Breakthrough Medicines. The company said it would hire around 2,000 employees over the next 2½ years.

It is marketing itself as “the world’s largest and most advanced single solution cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization. Period."

Chicago Developer Buys Former Philadelphia Refinery in Bankruptcy Auction

Hilco Redevelopment Partners is the winning bidder of one of the oldest and largest oil refineries on the East Coast. The purchase by Hilco, a company that specializes in redeveloping industrial sites, suggests the oil refinery may soon be transformed into a logistics hub.

Hilco, based in Chicago, plans to spend $240 million to buy the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, according to filings revealed Wednesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The 150-year-old refinery sits in south Philadelphia and has been closed since a fire and explosion last year. Shortly after the fire, Philadelphia Energy Solutions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The refinery sale still requires approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court as well as creditors, according to the filings.

The property is on 1,300 acres along the Schuylkill River, providing waterway infrastructure.

Hilco has a track record of redeveloping industrial sites into logistics-focused projects. Hilco bought a former Baltimore steel mill for $72 million several years ago and transformed it into Tradepoint Atlantic, a 3,300-acre shipping and logistics industrial development with tenants such as Amazon and Home Depot, according to CoStar data.

In Chicago, Hilco is redeveloping the former Crawford Station — one of the city’s oldest power stations — into a 1 million-square-foot logistics center. The project, called Exchange 55, is expected to be completed this year.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery was the largest refinery on the East Coast and processed roughly 335,000 barrels of oil per day at maximum capacity.

Demand for refined petroleum is expected to dwindle in the coming years because of increased fuel efficiency and wider use of electric and hybrid vehicles, according to a market report from IHS Markit, an industry consulting firm. The East Coast is expected to have the steepest decline in demand because of higher operating costs and competition from alternative energy, according to IHS Markit.

IHS Markit cites uncertainties related to the refinery site such as environmental conditions and being an urban location close to residential communities. About 219,700 people lived within 3 miles of the refinery site in 2017, according to the consulting firm.

NJ Industrial Market Ends Decade with Record Vacancies, Rents

by John Jordan
The industrial market in the state of New Jersey set new records at the end of 2019 for low vacancy and high rents.

In its fourth quarter 2019 industrial market report for New Jersey, showed the big box bubble is showing no sign of bursting as new construction continues to lease up quickly.
New Jersey’s industrial market finished the year at a record-low vacancy rate of 3.5%. The decade also ended with 18 consecutive quarters of increased rents and 16 consecutive quarters of record-high rents, closing 2019 at $8.73-per-square-foot.

Last year, new development in the Garden State slowed down with 4.7 million square feet being built, the lowest amount recorded since 2016. During 2019, 5.4 million square feet of industrial space was absorbed, the lowest level since 2012, due to limited supply.

“The scarcity of available land, especially in northern New Jersey, has slowed development in the past couple of years, and most new construction has been leased up quickly. Following exhaustive searches, challenges with rezoning and environmental factors, developers have replenished the construction pipeline heading into 2020.”

At the close of 2019, nearly 11 million square feet was under construction in core New Jersey markets, including more than 1 million square feet in the pipeline for five of the 25 submarkets.

Rents continued to rise, albeit at a slower pace, increasing by 6.1% from a year ago. Led by Exit 8A and the Hudson Waterfront submarkets, 17 of the 25 submarkets included reported higher rents than a year ago, with nine increasing by more than 10% year over year. New construction is commanding double-digit rents, with some approaching the mid-teens.
“Industrial real estate will remain the preferred asset class for investors and will also be the safest investment during periods of economic uncertainty. E-commerce was the catalyst for demand during the past decade, and recent reports of record-setting online shopping points to continued prosperity in the industrial market heading into 2020.”

E-commerce continues to have a positive impact on the industrial space as it has created “reverse logistics, or the need for separate facilities to handle returns directly by the originating retailer or third-party logistics providers.”

Key data points that clearly indicate the emerging influence e-commerce has on retail sales and the industrial real estate market.

E-commerce as a percentage of overall U.S. retail sales surpassed 11% for the first time in the third quarter of 2019. At the start of the decade, Amazon did not occupy any industrial properties in New Jersey. By the end of 2019, the company now occupies more than 12 million square feet in the state.

Cargo volume for the Port of New York and New Jersey continued to set records, the latest in November 2019, maintaining its position as the second-largest port in North America. By 2050, cargo at the port is expected to double.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Endurance announces the sale of 2000 Bishops Gate in Mount Laurel, New Jersey

An affiliate of Endurance Real Estate Group, LLC (“Endurance”) and Thackeray Partners (“Thackeray”) is pleased to announce the disposition of 2000 Bishops Gate, a 292,466 SF, Class A industrial warehouse, located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey (“Property”) for $32.2 million.

The building was constructed in 1988 and renovated in 2019. It features 32’ clear ceiling heights, an ESFR sprinkler system and ample loading capacity with full dock packages for its 35 dock positions. The Property is strategically located on NJ Route 38, a principal East/West highway in Burlington County, NJ and offers access to Exits 4 and 5 of the NJ Turnpike and Exit 40 of I-295.  The Property was 100% leased to two tenants at closing.

“We are thrilled to see the transformation of this project through its stabilization to disposition," stated Albert J. Corr, Senior Vice President from Endurance. “We acquired the building in early 2017 knowing it would be vacant within a few months. We set forth on a full scale $5 million capital improvement plan to upgrade and modernize the Property to make it a very attractive option for prospective tenants. We demolished 75,000 sf of office areas in the building, replaced the roof, installed new LED lighting throughout the warehouse and added ten (10) additional dock doors to meet the demand of today’s industrial tenants,” concluded Corr. Benjamin Cohen, President of Endurance, added, “Our ongoing partnership with Thackeray includes 10 deals together in the greater Philly MSA, this transaction being a very successful one. Burlington County has seen a tremendous uptick in tenant demand and investor interest in the last few years and with our business plan completed we were able to capitalize on that growth.”

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Parkway to Build New Office Tower in Philadelphia for Law Firm Morgan Lewis

by John Jordan
Locally-based Parkway Corp. reports it will build a new 19-story office building in the Central Business District for law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

Parkway reports that the law firm will occupy the entire 305,000-square-foot office building at 2222 Market St. The office building will be the first non-Comcast commercial office building constructed in the city’s CBD in more than 30 years.

“As Morgan Lewis continues its focus on exceptional client service, we believe that 2222 Market, with its cutting-edge design and technology, will increase collaboration among our lawyers and staff as well as add to our operational efficiencies,” says Sarah E. Bouchard, Morgan Lewis’ Philadelphia office managing partner. “We look forward to welcoming our clients, our lawyers, and our professional staff to our new office in Philadelphia.”

The tower is designed by architectural firm Gensler and will feature 10-foot high ceilings throughout with floor-to-ceiling glass, multiple outdoor terrace amenities, flexible workspace planning, fitness center, and conference center.
The building is designed to have a light carbon footprint and will be seeking LEED-CS Gold and Fitwell certifications.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ Philadelphia headquarters is currently located at 1701 Market St.
A rendering of 2222 Market St., Philadelphia

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Newly Released Census Figures Show Surge in College Educated Renters in Philly

Just before the start of the new year, the U.S. census released a treasure trove of its most recent demographic data for 2018.

While the census’ data releases are lagged, the bureau still provides far and away the most granular insights available on changes in long-term demographic trends that shape commercial real estate markets across the U.S.

For Philadelphia’s commercial real estate community, one of the most important takeaways from the recent release was the continued surge in Philadelphia’s population of college-educated renters.

The year-end tally of overall renter households in Philadelphia County wasn’t particularly noteworthy. At 287,500, the figure was almost unchanged compared to 2013 levels.

But the slow-growing headline figure masks dramatic changes in the demographic makeup of Philadelphia’s renter population. With rents having risen for 10 years straight, low income renters are being priced out of Philadelphia at an alarming rate.

The number of renter households without a college degree declined by almost 20,000, or 13% over the past five years, more than 10 times the national rate of decline in this cohort. Conversely, the number of renter households with bachelor’s or graduate degrees jumped to 97,000 in 2018, an acceleration over the 5.4% annual growth the figure has averaged during the past five years.

In line with these shifts, Philadelphia’s share of renter households earning over $75,000 has now doubled from 10% in 2010 to 21% in 2018, with most of the gains accruing during the second half of the decade.

hy is Philly experiencing such rapid growth in high income renters? Increasing affordability barriers to homeownership (which will be covered in a future update) are keeping more high-income residents in the renter pool well into their 30s.

However, even greater affordability challenges in nearby New York and Washington, D.C., are sending residents Philadelphia’s way. As housing costs have skyrocketed in those locations during recent years, the number of college educated migrants arriving in Philadelphia annually has grown by more than 50% since 2012.

This influx has been offset by Philadelphia’s continued losses in low- and middle-income renters. Census data suggests that in many cases, these renters are moving to some of the lowest-cost corners of the Philadelphia MSA, including Delaware County, Pennsylvania and New Castle County, Delaware, which both saw their tallies of non-college educated renters rise by more than 4,000 over the past five years. However, others continue to leave Philadelphia, seeking the mix of lower housing costs and better blue collar employment prospects offered in the southern U.S.

The overarching takeaway from 2018’s census release is that while Philadelphia’s renter population is growing more slowly than it was five years ago, it continues to gentrify at a rapid pace.

Joint Venture Buys Whole Foods-Anchored Shopping Center Near Center City, Philadelphia

A joint venture between Charter Realty & Development Corp. and an open-end institutional fund sponsored by Inland Institutional Capital has purchased Baederwood Shoppes on the Fairway in Abington, Pennsylvania, for $43.3 million, or about $371 per square foot.

The 116,778-square-foot center at 1537-1659 Fairway Valley Road is anchored by Whole Foods. Tenants at the 94% leased center include Planet Fitness, Panera Bread, Le Papillon Hair Salon, Message Envy and Baederwood Pharmacy.

The property spans 10.4 acres less than 10 miles from Center City, Philadelphia

"Having sold three Whole Foods-anchored centers over the past year, it is evident that investors of Whole Foods-anchored shopping centers have an insatiable demand for the product. Baederwood attracted a wide array of strong interest from a diverse group of institutional, REIT and private investors."

According to its website, Inland Institutional Capital has facilitated the completion of transactions with a value in excess of $11.5 billion since 2005.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Pennmark Properties Sells Mount Laurel Office Center in Southern New Jersey

Pennmark Properties has sold the 83,216-square-foot Mount Laurel Office Center in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, for $11.05 million, or about $133 per square foot.

The buildings at 530, 532 and 534 Fellowship Road are fully leased to six tenants and is anchored by the various uses of the United States Government’s General Services Administration.

Built in 1984, the property has visibility from Route 73 and access to many of the area’s primary thoroughfares, including Routes 38 and 70, Interstate 295 and The New Jersey Turnpike.

Why REITs Are A Great Way To Invest In Real Estate (Video)

Cyprus Investment Firm Acquires Pennsylvania Shopping Center for $40M in Blue Bell

by John Jordan
Medipower Overseas Co. of Cyprus has acquired the nearly fully-occupied Centre Square Commons shopping center here from Kinsley Properties for approximately $40 million.

The 88,598-square-foot grocery-anchored shopping center was 96% occupied at the time of the sale. The buyers were Medipower Overseas Co.,
Developed in 2017 as one of only a handful of new grocery-anchored shopping centers delivered in the past few years in the greater Philadelphia suburbs, Centre Square Commons is located on the corner of Route 202, and Route 73 in the heart of Blue Bell. The property is anchored by a 22,450-square-foot Aldi Supermarket.

“The pride of ownership on a generational asset, the success of the lease-up, fine aesthetics of first-class construction, and internet-proof tenancy created strong demand from national investors to own Centre Square Commons."

Centre Square Commons’ tenant roster includes a 10,816-square-foot Pennsylvania Fine Wine & Spirits Signature Premium Store, Starbucks, Zoe’s Kitchen, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Turning Point, Hand & Stone Massage, Lash Lounge, Jersey Mike’s, Barre 3 Yoga, Verizon and Vist Bank.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Mark Zandi on the Real Estate Economy in 2020 (Video)

Giant Food Stores to Spend $114M to Expand PA Operations

by John Jordan
Giant Foods Stores, LLC reports it intends to spend $114 million over the next 18 months to expand its operations in Pennsylvania. The initiative will include a new fulfillment center in Philadelphia and new store locations in Pocono Summit and Swatara Township.

The grocer states that the capital program builds on the success of its recently launched Giant Direct and Giant Heirloom Market formats.
The company unveiled plans to remodel 35 existing stores in 2020 and 2021. With this investment, Giant will grow its commitment to the city of Philadelphia, its home market in Central Pennsylvania, and Monroe County. Giant announced the capital investment program at last week’s 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Nicholas Bertram, president, Giant Food Stores, says, “The accelerated growth of Giant Direct has set the stage for additional investment opportunities that extend our e-commerce geographic reach. At the same time, our Giant Heirloom Market format has enabled us to reach an entirely new demographic in Philadelphia.”
Giants states it will construct its largest omni-channel fulfillment center in support of its e-commerce brand, Giant Direct at 3501 Island Ave. in Philadelphia. The 124,000 square foot facility will be completely renovated and will provide the firm with more capacity, better distribution and room to grow home delivery and in-store pick-up serving. Giant will partner with Peapod Digital Labs, an Ahold Delhaize USA company, on the development of the project.

The first Giant Direct facility to open in Philadelphia is expected to bring more than 200 new jobs to the Eastwick neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Giant also announced it will open a new 52,000-square-foot store in the Harrisburg market. Located at 6301 Grayson Road in Swatara Township, construction on the existing structure will begin in early 2020 and the new store will create approximately 150 new jobs. The company plans to open the Swatara Township store later this year. GIANT currently operates eight stores in Dauphin County, employing approximately 1,550 team members.

Also planned is a new, ground-up 66,000-square-foot Giant location that will be built in Pocono Summit at the southwest corner of Interstate 380 and state Route 940. The new store will expand the Giant brand along the Interstate 380 corridor and within Monroe County. Currently, a 2021 opening is being planned and the company anticipates hiring 200 team members for the new location.

The company plans to remodel 35 stores in various locations across its operating footprint that, in some cases, may include a new Beer & Wine Eatery. Future remodels in the Commonwealth include the communities of Camp Hill and St. Davids.

Giant, which is the second largest private employer in Pennsylvania, currently employs more than 27,000 people statewide.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Grand View Health Inks Deal for New Corporate/Administrative Offices

Grand View Health, a private non-profit hospital, has signed a five-year, 13,247-square-foot lease for its new corporate/administrative offices in Quakertown, Pennsylvania.

The 45,000-square-foot building at 18 S. 5th St. includes private perimeter window offices, open collaborative cube space, conference rooms, training rooms, a café and a gym. Built in 1940 and renovated in 2014, the two-story property spans an acre less than three miles from Quakertown Airport.

Philadelphia-Area Shopping Center Trades for $43M

by John Jordan
The Baederwood Shoppes on the Fairway, a 116,778-square-foot grocery anchored shopping center here, has been acquired by a joint venture of an institutional co-mingled fund sponsored by Oak Brook, IL-based Inland Institutional Capital, LLC and Charter Realty & Development Corp. of Westport, CT for $43.3 million.

Located 10 miles north of Philadelphia, Baederwood Shoppes on the Fairway is 94% leased. Its tenant roster includes anchor Whole Foods Market, as well as Planet Fitness, Panera Bread, Le Papillon Hair Salon, Massage Envy, Baederwood Pharmacy, Penn Community Bank and WSFS Bank. Athleta, a premium fitness and lifestyle brand, plans to open at the center in the fall of this year.
George Pandaleon, president of ICAP, says the property is well positioned and is a ‘necessity-based retail center” that offers best in class anchor Whole Foods and provides opportunities for growth.

Located at 1537-1659 Fairway Valley Road, the property is situated in a highly trafficked retail corridor that counts more than 39,000 vehicles per day and draws more than 126,000 residents within a three-mile radius.

A newly planned 244-unit apartment development directly behind the property is also expected to draw additional consumers and provide significant capital improvements to the shopping center, ICAP states.

“Anchored by nationally respected tenants, Baederwood Shoppes on the Fairway’s tenant mix underscores our belief that infill necessity-based centers continue to benefit from consistent consumer demand and limited online competition,” said Paul Brandes, a principal of Charter. “We believe the area’s demographic profile and ideal location, combined with our hands-on, energetic and market driven leasing approach, will drive growth at the center.”

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Top 5 Real Estate Markets in 2020 (Video)
Full ULI Report

East Coast Rack Signs Industrial Lease at Montgomeryville Business Center

East Coast Rack, a material handling solutions company, has signed a seven-year, 23,641-square-foot industrial lease at Montgomeryville Business Campus in North Wales, Pennsylvania.

The 132,000-square-foot warehouse at 1350 Welsh Road includes eight loading docks, one drive-in bay, 47- by 29-foot column spacing and a 23-foot clear ceiling height. Built in 1974, the single-story facility spans 28 acres less than three miles from the North Wales train station.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Liberty Property Trust Sells Navy Yard Facility in Philadelphia for $62.3 Million

New York-based Norvin Healthcare Properties has purchased a fully leased outpatient medical office building in Philadelphia from Liberty Property Trust for $62.3 million, or about $654 per square foot.

The 95,261-square-foot building at 3 Crescent Drive is anchored by Jefferson Health, an investment grade health system and one of the two leading healthcare providers in the Philadelphia area.

Additional tenants include NYU, Mt Sinai, Methodist Health System, MD Anderson, UT Health, LifeBridge and CHI, among others.

Developed by the seller in 2009, the four-star facility spans 5.5 acres at Navy Yard, a more than 1,200-acre campus with 6.3 miles of waterfront and 165 businesses employing more than 13,500 people.

Norvin President Norm Livingston said in a statement, "We approached Liberty upon hearing of their plans to divest of all non-industrial assets in their portfolio. We knew they had a few interesting medical assets and we were able to secure a contract for 3 Crescent Drive."

Livingston said the asset will be added to the Norvin Core Plus Fund, which targets healthcare properties leased to credit tenants with long-term leases.

"We’re very pleased with this acquisition and look forward to acquiring similar assets as we expand our portfolio in Philadelphia and throughout the East Coast," Livingston stated.

WP Carey Bought Six Deals for $282 million Including Cabela’s

A New York City-based real estate investment trust went fishing for big buys to close out last year and landed the largest store for outdoor, hunting and fishing retailer Cabela’s along with a distribution center filled by power tools maker Stanley Black & Decker.

Those were among six deals totaling $282 million that W.P. Carey closed in the final three months of 2019 to finish the year with more than $540 million spent on properties in the United States and Europe.

"The end of the year is often our most active period given our track record of timely execution and our ability to work with a range of tenants across diverse properties, geographies and industries," Gino Sabatini, W.P. Carey’s head of investments, said in a statement.

The REIT specializes in buying buildings occupied by a single tenant that has net leases, which means the landlord has little to no operating expense on a property. It owns more than 1,200 properties in the United States and Europe, one of which is the headquarters building occupied by the New York Times.

W.P. Carey paid $55.2 million for the Cabela’s in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, north of Reading off Interstate 78, according to property records.

The REIT tends to use cleverly named entities when it buys property. In a deal last year, W.P. Carey created You Scream LLC when it bought the plant and headquarters of ice cream and beverage maker Turkey Hill Dairy in Conestoga, Pennsylvania.

With the Cabela’s property, the REIT bought it through an entity named Gone Fishing (PA) LLC from a joint venture between San Francisco-based Sansome Pacific and New York City-based Fortress Investment Group.

Sansome and Fortress bought the store last May along with 10 other Cabela’s properties from the retailer’s Springfield, Missouri-based parent company in a $324.3 million deal. Cabela's is owned by Bass Pro Shops, which bought its competitor in 2017 for $4 billion. Bass Pro sold the properties and leased them back.

Cabela’s lists the store at 250,000 square feet, more than twice the size of a typical location, and considered the largest among its 85 locations. It was built in 2003 with economic incentives to be a tourist destination for the local area. It was the only retail property the REIT bought in the fourth quarter.

W.P. Carey’s biggest deal in the fourth quarter involved paying Towson, Maryland-based Stanley Black & Decker, a power tools company, just shy of $94 million for its 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Fort Mill, South Carolina. The sale leaseback was done through an entity named Nailed It Multi LP.

The state line between North Carolina and South Carolina runs through the building. W.P. Carey paid $56.4 million for the Fort Mill side of the building and $37.4 million for the Charlotte side, according to property records.

In another deal, W.P. Carey paid $39 million for a portfolio of four flex-industrial and two office buildings totaling 213,000 square feet. The REIT only revealed that the buildings spread between Texas, Ohio and Louisiana and are leased to a "leading engineering design solutions and analysis provider that serves a broad range of industries."

W.P. Carey’s smallest deal in the United States for the fourth quarter involved buying the 162,000-square-foot headquarters and warehouse facility of Safco Dental Supply based in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, in the Chicago area.

Its two deals in Europe included logistics facilities in Denmark and Sweden leased to Stark Group, a large building and construction supplier, and a distribution center in the United Kingdom leased to Poundstretcher Ltd., a variety discount retailer with 450 locations. Each deal sold for $38 million.

Record Multifamily Sales Volume in NJ/Philadelphia Markets

by John Jordan
One firm completed a total of 127 apartment-property sales transactions totaling $1.9 billion and 12,155 units recorded in 2019, which was a 72% increase over 2018′s totals.

In New Jersey, the arranged sales involved 3,683 units with a sales value in excess of $606.8 million in 2019. In the Greater Philadelphia metro region. More than $455 million in sales totaling more than 4,265 units were confirmed last year.

“2019 proved to be a record-shattering year in our firm’s 44-year history as well as for the most in-favor commercial real estate asset—apartment-rental properties—across every investor category—from high-net-worth individuals and family offices to private equity firms and institutional entities." He adds that as new-product deliveries top off this coming year and apartment-fundamental pressure eases, he expects multi-family investments will continue to achieve successive gains, quarter to quarter and year-over-year.

The asking-rent and property-value acceleration will reach the mid-to-high range, depending on local submarket and overall metro variables. One of those influencing factors will be the widespread focus on revitalization and adaptive reuse efforts from the cities to the suburbs.
The largest portfolio sale in the state involved more than 1,800 units. In total, the $300-million transaction encompassed six properties in west Essex and Bergen counties.

Other Northern and Central Jersey centers of sales activity included: Bergen County (1,131 units/$179 million); Middlesex County (644 units/$152 million); Somerset County (517 units/$112 million); Central Union County (191 units/$46.3 million; Morris County (166 units/$50.75 million); Sussex County (302 units/$34.45 million) and Monmouth County (78 units plus land/$17.93 million).

In terms of sales activity in the Philadelphia region, the brokerage firm states that the centers of transaction activity included Philadelphia proper as well as Pennsylvania’s Montgomery, Monroe, Chester and Bucks counties and Southern New Jersey’s Atlantic, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
“Demand continues to ramp up throughout the Greater Philadelphia region—a metro on a meteoric rise in terms of the entry of new investors and capital. Value-add enhancements and redevelopment initiatives are transforming the metro’s apartment stock to create a lifestyle experience linking to nearby Center City, Philadelphia as the vibrant focal point.”

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Riding the Real Estate Cycle Part 1 & 2 (Video)

Part 1 Part 2

Philadelphia’s Office Market Stayed Strong in 2019

by John Jordan
The office market in the Philadelphia region ended the year on a high note with lower availability and higher rents as compared to a year earlier.

In its fourth quarter Philadelphia fourth quarter 2019 market report, notes that Philadelphia’s regional overall availability declined 30 basis points from the third quarter to end 2019 at 16.9%. The Philadelphia Central Business District’s availability decreased 50 basis points to 11.7% by the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, which the report attributes to stronger activity in the East Market and Navy Yard submarkets.

Wilmington’s core availability (23.2%) declined 10 basis points from the third quarter. Suburban availability registered a 20-basis-point drop quarter-over-quarter to 19.7%, with notable contractions in South New Castle (down 620 basis points), Media/Newtown Square (down 600 basis points), Lansdale (down 550 basis points) and King of Prussia (down 210 basis points).

Asking rents in Philadelphia’s core contracted over the quarter, but were still higher from earlier in the year. The region’s overall asking rent increased less than 1.0% quarter over quarter to $28.62 per square foot, but was 1.5% higher than at the beginning of the year. Similarly, the average asking rent in the Philadelphia Central Business District decreased less than 1.0% quarter-over-quarter to $34.30 psf, but was 4.0% higher than in Q1 2019. Quarter-over-quarter, rents flattened in the West Market ($34.08 psf) and University City ($41.03 psf) and declined 1.5% in the East Market ($32.39 psf). The suburbs saw more quarterly rent gains, most notably in Conshohocken ($39.29 psf), Newtown ($31.39 psf) and Lansdale ($20.17 psf), Savills reports.
Regional leasing activity totaled 7.2 million square feet (msf) for 2019—2.2% less than in 2018. Class A properties accounted for 4.8 msf (66.7%) of the year’s transactions.

Philadelphia’s Central Business District recorded 2.6 msf of leasing activity, mostly concentrated in the West Market (1.6 msf) and East Market (0.6 msf) submarkets.

Notable leases executed during the fourth quarter of included M&T Bank’s regional headquarters relocation to 45,000 square feet at Radnor Financial Center (Radnor) from Villanova and Five Below Inc.’s 43,000-square-foot expansion at 701 Market St. (East Market), and Cohen Seglias’ relocation of 34,391 square feet to 1600 Market St. (West Market). In addition, co-working provider WeWork expanded its presence at 1100 Ludlow St. (East Market) by 25,183 square feet, despite uncertainty surrounding the co-working firm’s future finances.

Construction costs are expected to increase with the rising price of materials and labor, impacting the cost of tenant build outs and the market anticipates new projects breaking ground in 2020 with the expected finalization of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ lease at a proposed 331,000-square-foot office tower.

It is expected that in 2020 as tenants continue to seek amenity-rich locations and buildings, owners will focus on upgrades and renovations on their properties.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Modell’s Sporting Goods Signs Major Lease in Bordentown

by John Jordan
Modell’s Sporting Goods has signed a lease for in excess of 312,000 square feet of space at Matrix Development’s 201 Old York Road building here.

The sporting goods retailer will house its logistics and distribution operations in 312,373 square feet of space at the newly built 569,147-square-foot facility, reports CBRE, which was a broker in the transaction. The firm had conducted a search for space in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to house those functions.
The CBRE team of Bill Waxman, Mindy Lissner and Steven Beyda worked in tandem with Brett Weinblatt of Compass Commercial in representing Modell’s in its space search and lease negotiations. CBRE’s Paul Touhey, Dan McGovern and Jake Terkanian also assisted in the space search.

“The transaction involved an exhaustive search throughout New Jersey, lower New York and Eastern Pennsylvania,” says CBRE EVP Waxman. “The building is a brand-new distribution facility that boasts the types of amenities that will allow Modell’s to improve its supply chain operations, deliver merchandise to the stores more efficiently, enhance its growing e-commerce business and position the company for future growth and exceptional service.”

Modell’s is partnering with enVista, a leading global software solutions and consulting firm, to engineer and furnish its new facility.

201 Old York Road is located less than two miles from exit 7 of the New Jersey Turnpike and is near Port Newark/Elizabeth, the Philadelphia and South Jersey docks, Newark Airport, Philadelphia Airport and JFK Airport in the Central New Jersey industrial market.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inks $250M Sale-Leaseback with Oak Street Capital

by John Jordan
Bed Bath & Beyond reports it has completed a $250-million sale-leaseback deal with an affiliate of Chicago-based Oak Street Real Estate Capital involving a total of more than 2.1 million square feet of office, retail and distribution space.

The properties sold include retail stores, a distribution facility and office space. Bed Bath & Beyond will continue to occupy these properties pursuant to long-term leases.
The Wall Street Journal reports that among the properties that changed hands was Bed Bath & Beyond’s corporate headquarters at 650 Liberty Ave. in Union, NJ and an undisclosed number of its approximately 1,500 retail stores.

“We are pleased to complete this sale-leaseback transaction,” states Mark Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond’s president and CEO. “This marks the first step toward unlocking valuable capital in our business that can be put to work to amplify our plans to build a stronger, more efficient foundation to support revenue growth, financial stability and enhance shareholder value.”

Bed Bath & Beyond expects to generate more than $250 million in proceeds from the sale-leaseback transaction with Oak Street Real Estate Capital.

The company and its outside financial advisors are reviewing its portfolio of retail concepts and owned real estate to optimize its asset base and enhance shareholder value. In connection with this review, the company notes that it is continuing to evaluate certain remaining owned real estate

Bed Bath & Beyond, which recently initiated a shakeup of its corporate leadership, will be announcing third quarter fiscal year 2019 financial results on Wednesday.

Friday, January 3, 2020

NFI Expands Supply Chain Logistics Operations in Southeast

by John Jordan
Locally-based supply chain solutions provider NFI reports it has completed the acquisition of G&P Trucking Company, Inc. of Columbus, SC adding 14 locations to its Southeast operations.

The addition of G&P increases NFI’s footprint to more than 300 locations throughout North America, employing more than 12,600 associates. The purchase of G&P further deepens NFI’s industry expertise throughout diverse industries such as automotive, tires, retail and textiles.
No financial terms of the transaction were reported.

G&P’s asset-based transportation solutions include dedicated, regional, long haul, and Mexico border crossing. With G&P’s 370 tractors and 3,000 trailers, NFI’s asset-based transportation fleet will grow to more than 3,000 tractors and 12,500 trailers. With the addition of G&P, NFI’s asset-based fleet will be operated by 2,700 company drivers and utilize the services of 400 owner operators.
Operating at the ports of Savannah, Norfolk, and Charleston, G&P will expand NFI’s drayage presence in those ports. With the addition of G&P’s 120 owner operator partnerships, NFI’s drayage fleet will grow to more than 1,500 tractors. NFI’s expansive drayage presence spans major ports, terminals, and logistics hubs across the US. The acquisition will also enhance NFI’s brokerage service offerings.

“G&P is a well-respected, family-owned transportation company with a deep-rooted history, and our shared values of family and integrity create a perfect cultural fit,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “Unifying the talents of both NFI and G&P teams, we are excited to bring even greater value to our customers through our robust suite of solutions. Together, our combined footprint will distinguish us as one of the largest dedicated transportation providers in North America.”

NFI, which is headquartered in Camden, NJ is a privately held company owned by the Brown family since its inception in 1932, NFI generates more than $2 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 12,600 associates. NFI owns facilities globally and operates approximately 50 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space. Its dedicated fleet consists of over 3,000 tractors and 12,500 trailers operated by 2,700 company drivers and leveraging partnerships with 400 owner operators. NFI has a significant drayage presence at nearly every major U.S. port, leveraging the services of an additional 1,500 owner operators. The company’s business lines include dedicated transportation, distribution, brokerage, transportation management, port drayage, intermodal, global logistics, and real estate.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

How Interest-Only Loans Affect Real Estate Investment Returns (Video)

Exeter Property Group of Conshohocken PA Purchases Nine Building Portfolio

A Pennsylvania industrial investor capped its December with another big deal, this time buying a nine-building warehouse and distribution portfolio next to the Memphis International Airport.

Exeter Property Group of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, paid $44 million for 1.1 million square feet spread across the nine buildings.

Exeter adds to the more than 16 million square feet of industrial space it owns in the Memphis metropolitan area. With the increased popularity of online shopping, warehouses and distribution centers used to transfer orders into small shipments for doorstep delivery have been rising in demand. Industrial property near airports and other transportation hubs are particularly desirable.

Earlier in the month, Exeter paid $195 million for a 1.15 million-square-foot, newly built dry warehouse and cold storage distribution center in Centralia, Washington, about 25 miles south of Olympia. The building is leased to Providence, Rhode Island-based United Natural Foods, one of the largest wholesale companies in North America.

With the Memphis deal, Exeter picks up buildings that are mostly fully leased, one building at just above 86% leased.

For Faropoint, the deal meant a hefty return after just two and a half years of owning them. In 2017, the investor paid $33.1 million. New leasing helped increase occupancy and the value.

The area where the buildings are located contains the largest concentration of industrial space in the greater Memphis area with 103 million square feet. Vacancy is up to 8% but still below its 10-year historical average.

Here are the addresses of the buildings Faropoint sold:

  • 3474 Winchester Road
  • 3510 Winchester Road
  • 3570 Winchester Road
  • 3644 Winchester Road
  • 3422-3584 Prescott Blvd.
  • 3500 Air Center Cove
  • 3560 Air Center Cove
  • 3300 Jet Cove
  • 3677-3710 MIAC Drive

Commercial Real Estate Investing Strategies Investors Use To Buy Profitable Deals (Video)

Norvin Healthcare Enters Philly with Navy Yard Buy

by John Jordan
Norvin Healthcare Properties has acquired a fully-occupied medical office building at 3 Crescent Drive at the Philadelphia Navy Yard from Liberty Property Trust in an off-market transaction, has learned.

The 96,000-square-foot building is mostly occupied by Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Inc. (Jefferson Health) under a long-term lease. No financial terms of the transaction were disclosed.
Liberty Property Trust, which is being merged with Prologis in a nearly $13-billion deal, has sold a number of its properties in the Philadelphia Navy Yard of late, including One Crescent Drive, which totals more than 76,000 square feet, and the 80,050-square-foot 201 Rouse Blvd. office building to Ensemble Real Estate. The Phoenix-based firm stated last month that it also had a deal to acquire 150 Rouse Blvd., a 56,412-square-foot office building and 1200 Intrepid Ave., a 91,971-square-foot office property at the Navy Yard from Liberty Property Trust.

Norvin Healthcare president Norm Livingston, says the off-market acquisition of 3 Crescent Drive took more than a year to finalize.
“We approached Liberty upon hearing of their plans to divest of all non-industrial assets in their portfolio. We knew they had a few interesting medical assets and we were able to secure a contract for 3 Crescent Drive,” he adds.

Norvin Healthcare, which has offices in New York City and Houston, maintains a portfolio that is largely leased to strong-credit, non-profit health systems, including: New York University (NYU), Mount Sinai, Methodist Health System, MD Anderson, UT Health, LifeBridge, CHI and others.

The firm owns a total of approximately 2 million square feet of single-tenant and multi-tenant acute care, post-acute care, clinical and medical diagnostic office buildings. The acquisition of 3 Crescent Drive marks Norvin Healthcare’s entrance into the Philadelphia medical office space market.
3 Crescent Drive is a Class A, mission-critical medical facility that has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design® (LEED) Gold Certification. Anchored by Jefferson Health, other building occupants include Jefferson Health Surgical Center, a joint venture including Jefferson Health, The Rothman Institute and Nueterra Healthcare.

Steve Rooney, Norvin senior director of Acquisitions, notes the newly acquired property is located in the fast-growing Philadelphia Navy Yard, a 1,200-plus-acre campus with 6.3 miles of waterfront and 165 businesses employing more than 13,500 people. The Navy Yard has become a magnet for businesses with a critical mass of life science companies operating in the master development that will soon include a large-scale residential component and additional hospitality and retail outlets. The 3 Crescent Drive site is visible from U.S. Interstate 95 and Broad Street, and sits just across the highway from the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, home to all of Philadelphia’s professional sports teams.

Rooney adds, “The quality of the tenancy and the long lease term should provide a strong, reliable stream of cash flow for our investors for years to come.”

The property will be added to the Norvin Core Plus Fund, which targets healthcare properties leased to credit tenants with long-term leases.

“The 3 Crescent Drive acquisition is a perfect fit for the Norvin Core Plus Fund,” says Livingston. Jefferson Health recently spent significant capital on building upgrades so further building improvements are not necessary, Livingston notes.

The company, which has holdings in Texas, New York City, Maryland and elsewhere, is looking to acquire medical properties all along the Eastern Seaboard, but Livingston notes that market conditions are difficult at the moment. Norvin is looking at opportunities from Maine to Florida, he adds.