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Construction Starts at 72,000 Sq. Ft. Outpatient Healthcare Facility in Penn Township

14 May 2014, 3:50 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Anchor Health Properties, a Wilmington, DE-based development company focused on medical facilities, recently started construction on Penn Medicine Southern Chester County, a new outpatient healthcare facility located at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 79—two of the most heavily traveled roads in Chester County.

Penn Medicine Southern Chester County

Penn Medicine Southern Chester County

The 72,000-square-foot medical building in Penn Township will be anchored by the physicians and services of the Chester County Hospital. According to Anchor Health Properties, these services include imaging, lab draw, physical therapy, primary care as well as outpatient, same-day surgical procedures. Special amenities will include a concierge desk located in a two-story atrium, a café offering ready-to-go snacks and refreshments, a community resource room and outdoor event space. Penn Medicine Southern Chester County will be conveniently situated on a spacious 45-acre site with walking trails, meadows, landscaping and free parking.

The project’s construction manager is The Norwood Company of Malvern, while conceptual plans were designed by ARRAY Architects, according to the developer who hopes to finish construction at the site by spring 2015.

“The design creates a comfortable, high-quality healthcare experience for the convenience and customer service of physicians, patients and visitors, and utilizes building materials and landscape elements that reflect the history and environment of southern Chester County,” said Paula Crowley, CEO of Anchor Health Properties, in a press statement.

According to Chester County officials quoted by the Daily Local News, a market research study from 2009 found that the southern Chester County area needed an additional 21 physicians. However, given the fact that nearly 20 percent of Chester County Hospital patients come from the southwestern part of the region, the need is expected to grow to more than 30 by next spring.


Rendering courtesy of ARRAY Architects

Hospitality 3 Announces Study Hotels Concept for Philadelphia’s University City

7 May 2014, 8:21 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Hospitality 3, a hotel and real estate development company with offices in Manhattan and New Haven, CT, is set to break ground on a new hotel facility in West Philadelphia.

The Study at University City - Philadelphia

The Study at University City – Philadelphia

The company announced it entered a long-term ground lease with Drexel University to develop a 10-story facility on the northwest corner of 33rd and Chestnut streets in the University City district. The 145,000-square-foot hotel called The Study at University City will be operated by Hospitality 3’s Study Hotels—a brand described as a lifestyle concept conceived to accommodate the news of university markets by offering high quality, full-service lodging.

“We are delighted to have secured such an incredible site in the heart of University City and a short walk from 30th Street Station,” said Paul McGowan, Hospitality 3 Principal. According to the company, McGowan himself developed the Study Hotels concept that caters to students and staff members in dense college and university areas. Designed to create an “urban retreat” for visitors, professors, students, families and locals, Study Hotels also look to have a strong relevance within the community by capturing the character of the area and the personality of the neighboring institutions—such is the case for The Study at Yale, Hospitality 3’s first hotel of this kind that was developed on the Yale University campus in New Haven, CT. The 124-key boutique hotel opened in 2008 and went on to become one of the favorite lodging options in the area (apparently Hollywood star James Franco lived there during his years at Yale).

Award-winning architecture firm DIGSAU created the conceptual design for the building in Philadelphia’s University City. The hotel will offer 212 guest rooms along with a restaurant that can accommodate more than 100 people, a fitness center and 7,000 square feet of meeting space.

According to Hospitality 3, the hotel project is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Rendering courtesy of DIGSAU

Liberty/Synterra JV Breaks Ground on 75,000 Sq. Ft. Building at the Navy Yard Commerce Center

30 Apr 2014, 4:09 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Activity is buzzing at the old Philadelphia Navy Yard as the business campus continues to add new office buildings to accommodate the growing list of companies that are rapidly joining the site’s tenant roster.

4000 S 26th Street - Navy Yard Commerce Center

4000 S 26th Street – Navy Yard Commerce Center

Located in South Philadelphia and developed by the now-famous Liberty Property Trust/Synterra Partners partnership, the 40-acre Navy Yard Commerce Center is a master-planned project that consists of a mix of renovated historic buildings and new high-performance and LEED certified buildings. The Commerce Center is part of the Navy Yard, a 1,200-acre waterfront business campus designated as a Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone (KOIZ) that is currently home to more than 11,000 employees and 143 companies in the office, industrial/manufacturing, and research and development sectors.

The Liberty/Synterra joint venture recently broke ground on its third flex building at the Navy Yard Commerce Center, an official statement shows. The 75,000-square-foot Class A commercial facility is located at 4000 S. 26th Street and is already fully pre-leased to three international tenants.

Conceptual plans for the $13 million development project were designed by Environetics, a New York-based architecture and interior design firm. Set for completion by December 2014, the single-story structure will join Liberty/Synterra’s two other build-to-suit flex buildings located at 4020 and 4050 S. 26th Street, which are also 100 percent leased.

“The appeal for high-quality flex space centrally located in the region continues to attract new companies to The Navy Yard, in this case from as far as China, Australia and the United Kingdom. With all five flex buildings in The Navy Yard at capacity, we will continue to meet this growing demand with plans already underway for our sixth flex building,” said Brian Cohen, Liberty Property Trust vice president and city manager at the ground breaking ceremony.

EcoSave, a large Australian energy efficiency company, announced earlier this year that it has chosen the Navy Yard as the location for its headquarters in the U.S. The company has already leased 20,000 square feet at 4000 S. 26th Street and plans to move in as soon as the building is completed.

Clinigen, a specialty global pharmaceuticals and services business based in the United Kingdom, will also set up its U.S. headquarters at 4000 S. 26th Street. According to the developers, the company will occupy approximately 10,000 square feet of space in the new building.

The third tenant is WuXi AppTec, Inc., a global pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device outsourcing company with operations in China and the United States. WuXi Apptec was Liberty’s first tenant in the Navy Yard in 2003, when it leased 75,000 square feet of research and development space. Reportedly, Wuxi AppTec will expand into 45,000 square feet of the building, bringing its total footprint in the navy Yard to nearly 130,000 square feet.

Rendering courtesy of Libery Property Trust and Synterra Partners

HOW Properties Working on New Student Housing Complex in West Philly

16 Apr 2014, 7:55 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A local real estate management company is building a new student housing facility on Woodland Avenue in the west section of Philadelphia—or West Philly, where student housing is scarce though the area is home to several well-established universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the University of Sciences in Philadelphia and Saint Joseph’s University.

4619 Woodland Avenue - West Philadelphia

4619 Woodland Avenue – West Philadelphia

West Philly Local reports that HOW Properties is currently working on a 20,000-square-foot complex at 4619 Woodland Avenue that will offer housing options to students enrolled in the University of Sciences in Philadelphia (USP). The 1,890-square-foot development site is a formerly vacant parcel that HOW Properties acquired in July 2013 for $865,000 according to data from PropertyShark.

The three-story building will include 16 housing units in a combination of two-, three-, four-, and five-bedrooms and only one studio. Reportedly, the project had an estimated completion date set for August but the developer decided to push this date until next summer because many students had already signed leases for the 2014-2015 school year. According to West Philly Local, the units will be available for rents between $800 and $3,200 a month but the prices are expected to change next year.

HOW Properties also included a commercial retail space on the ground floor of the building and hopes to work with the USP board to identify a tenant that would be beneficial for the area and the building’s residents.


Rendering credits: HOW Properties

Rittenhouse Realty Advisors Sells Wyndmoor Gardens Apartment Asset for $7.1 Million

14 Apr 2014, 1:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A residential complex in Chestnut Hill, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Philadelphia, recently changed ownership in a $7.1 million transaction.

Wyndmoor Gardens - Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

Wyndmoor Gardens – Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

Rittenhouse Realty Advisors sold the Wyndmoor Gardens apartment community at 219 E. Willow Grove Avenue to an undisclosed local private capital group. Located directly across the street from the Wyndmoor SEPTA Regional Rail Station and offering convenient access to downtown Philadelphia, Conshohocken and King of Prussia, the horse shoe shaped complex consists of five residential buildings totaling 88 apartments (63 percent of which are two-bedroom units), one retail store and 21 income-producing garages.

“The property traded at a sub 5% CAP on trailing 12 month numbers in the heart of Chestnut Hill,” stated Ken Wellar, managing partner with Rittenhouse Realty Advisors.

Wyndmoor Gardens was sold with excellent value-add opportunity for the buyer as most of the units haven’t been renovated and are still rented at below the market average. Information from LoopNet.com reveals that average rents in the Chestnut Hill submarket range from $900-$1,000 per month for one-bedroom units to $1,300-$1,400 per months for two-bedroom units. According to Rittenhouse, the new owner of Wyndmoor Gardens plans to complete high-end upgrades to the 88 units which could push up rents by a whopping 25 percent.


Image via Rittenhouse Realty Advisors

110 Luxury Apartments Under Construction at 2021 Chestnut Street

8 Apr 2014, 1:19 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

AQ Rittenhouse - 2021 Chestnut Street

AQ Rittenhouse – 2021 Chestnut Street

The wave of residential projects that hit the vibrant Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia continues with yet another upscale development at 2021 Chestnut Street near Rittenhouse Square.

In less than one week Aquinas Realty Partners is set to officially break ground on AQ Rittenhouse, a high-rise luxury apartment building designed for active young professionals looking for an urban lifestyle. The 12-story story will replace a long-vacant community center that served as an annex for the former YWCA building.

According to Philadelphia Inquirer, the four-story YWCA annex—a veritable source of blight—was purchased by Aquinas Realty in 2010 for around $1 million from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

Designed by BLT Architects to qualify for LEED Silver certification, the $33 million AQ Rittenhouse will be a much-needed urban-infill redevelopment in a busy commercial and residential area in Center City. The mixed-use building will boast 110 first-class luxury units combined with nearly 5,000 square feet of street level retail/restaurant and commercial space brokered by CBRE |Fameco. The building’s basement will be occupied by the Freire Charter School. The list of amenities includes a fitness center, 24/7 concierge and doorman, dog wash room, wifi internet, extensive bike storage and repair shop, car share garage and roof top community gathering facility. Project plans also include a 2nd floor central courtyard offering panoramic views of Rittenhouse Square and the Philadelphia skyline.

When completed in late 2014, AQ Rittenhouse will offer mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments featuring hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, washer-dryer units, and granite countertops.


Rendering of AQ Rittenhouse credits to BLT Architects via Aquinas Realty Partners

Philadelphia Advances Strategic Plan to Create 1,500 New Low-Income Apartments

31 Mar 2014, 6:53 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A new housing plan that is expected to create more affordable units in gentrifying neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia was announced recently by the City Council.

The “1,500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative” plan calls for 1,000 new affordable rental units and 500 new residential units available for ownership in strategic locations called Opportunity Zones, in an effort to balance Philadelphia’s uneven economic recovery. According to a City Council report, there is a list of more than 110,000 families waiting for PHA housing but only 1,500 units become available each year.

“The affordable housing crisis and growing income inequality are undeniably linked. Right now, Philadelphia has a great opportunity to reverse these negative trends and become a national model for how to strategically deploy public assets in order to promote healthier, more productive communities,” City Council President Darrell L. Clarke said in a statement.

The strategic initiative was designed to generate more than $680 million in economic activity and create over 4,200 jobs. It highlights five primary goals:

-     Use state and federal housing funds to their maximum potential;

-     Revitalize blighted neighborhoods by building affordable rental and ownership units on publicly owned land;

-     Advocate sustainable mixed-income communities by developing affordable rental and ownership units in the city’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods;

-     Convert publicly owned land into taxable properties;

-    Create both construction and construction-related jobs in addition to post-construction jobs in managing and maintaining the affordable rental units.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the monthly mortgage payments for the new ownership units would range between 15 percent and 23 percent of the target buyer’s monthly income. For the rental units the city is expected to set aside $100,000 for each of the 1,000 new affordable rentals in order to subsidize the related operational costs for the next 30 years. This would be possible with the help of a $100 million loan and additional affordable housing subsidies from the Philadelphia Housing Authorities.

Scannapieco Reveals Plans for $150 Million Ultra-Luxury Residential Tower in Old City

16 Mar 2014, 3:39 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Plans for an ultra-luxury residential tower in Philadelphia’s historic Old City neighborhood were announced this week by Scannapieco Development Corporation, the developer behind the highly successful condos at 1706 Rittenhouse Square in Center City.

500 Walnut - Old City Philadelphia

500 Walnut – Old City Philadelphia

Located at Fifth and Walnut Streets and facing Independence National Historic Park, the planned 500 Walnut tower will replace an underdeveloped 18,155-square-foot parcel that has been vacant for the past 10 years. Philadelphia Magazine notes that the construction site is currently owned by Five Hundred Walnut Associates, but Scannapieco is expected to purchase the lot for $8.5 million in the next 60 days.

Architect Cecil Baker was hired to create the conceptual design for the 26-story glass needle structure. “500 Walnut is perched on the threshold of history, and it’s also the gateway to society hill. As such, I envisioned it as a building that should be accepting and cognizant of its historical foreground, and at the same time, be a slim, elegant contemporary beacon in Philadelphia,” said Cecil Baker in a statement for the press. “It’s a unique opportunity—to be able to view the great paradigms of American history from atop your home in a building that is the first of its kind in Philadelphia.”

The super-luxury residential tower will be built at a $150 million cost and is projected to break ground in early 2015.  Starting spring 2017, when the building will be ready for occupancy, 500 Walnut will offer 40 housing units starting at 2,100 square feet. Fourteen of these apartments will be located on the upper floors and will be marketed as private, full-floor 4,200-square-foot units boasting large balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, fireplaces and private elevator access.

According to the developer, these full-floor units will range from $4 million to over $13 million. 500 Walnut will include only two penthouses, each of them featuring two stories with over 8,400 square feet of customizable space. Other amenities include a two-story fitness center with a large outdoor terrace overlooking National Historic Park, an underground fully automated parking garage for more than 80 cars.


Rendering courtesy of Cecil Baker and Partners via 500walnut.com

Penn’s South Bank Master Plan To Include 200,000 Sq. Ft. Innovation Center

10 Mar 2014, 3:41 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

University of Pennsylvania - South Bank aerial view

University of Pennsylvania – South Bank aerial view

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) revealed plans for a research park anchored by a new innovation center that will be built on the former DuPont Marchall Research Laboratories site, a large industrial property along the Schuylkill River that will house the planned South bank campus.

Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported that the 23-acre industrial site located between 34th Street and Grays Ferry Avenue served as an automotive paint lab, manufacturing and testing facility for DuPont until 2009, when the factory was shut down. One year later the site containing 250,000 square feet of laboratory, office and warehouse space was acquired by Penn for $13 million.

University of Pennsylvania - South Bank conceptual land use plan

University of Pennsylvania – South Bank conceptual land use plan

Designed by architecture firm Wallace Roberts and Todd (WRT) to support entrepreneurial and innovation growth in Philadelphia, the South Bank is an important component of Penn Connects 2.0—an ambitious long-term development strategy that has added almost 3 million square feet of space to Penn’s campus and increased the university’s open space on campus by 25 percent since 2006, when the university embarked on a two-decade expansion plan.

A 200,000-square-foot incubator and accelerator dubbed the “Pennovation Center” will anchor the university’s campus and will serve as a hub for collaboration and creativity while encouraging the exchange of ideas for innovators from Penn’s departments. According to a news release, Penn’s flexible project design allows for another 550,000 sq. ft. of new campus space that will be built in phases over the next twenty years.

Penn’s South Bank is very much in sync with Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation’s (PIDC) long-term revitalization plan of the entire Lower Schuylkill River into a 500-acre Innovation District, a Logistics Hub and an Energy Corridor while expanding riverfront green space.


Renderings courtesy of PennConnects

New Owners Announce Luxury Apartments for Avenue of the Arts Building

3 Mar 2014, 10:03 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor


MRP Residential, a division of MRP Realty of Washington, D.C., and Des Moines-based Principal Real Estate Investors recently acquired the full, 209,000-square-foot residential component of the Avenue of the Arts Building in Center City Philadelphia, with plans to redevelop the asset into high-end apartments. The new owners did not disclose the purchase price, but sources quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer say the amount could be in the range of $29 million to $34 million—or $175 to $200 per square foot.

Avenue of the Arts Building, Philadelphia, PA

“By acquiring the Avenue of the Arts Building, MRP and Principal Real Estate Investors have a unique opportunity to redevelop this historic structure into a luxury apartment project in the heart of Philadelphia’s Center City,” said in a statement for the press Bob Murphy, managing principal of MRP Realty. “The immediate access to vibrant nightlife, retail, dining and entertainment options, and the proximity to top universities, hospitals and employers combine to make the Avenue of the Arts Building a prime location for a best-in-class development.”

Located at 1338-1348 Chestnut Street in one of Philadelphia’s most elite neighborhoods, the Beaux Arts style structure was constructed in 1897 as an office building. A century later it was acquired by Lubert-Adler Partners and Philadelphia  Management Co. who converted the building into dorms for students enrolled at the Art Institute of Philadelphia.  In 2004 New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. bought the building for a reported $45 million, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.

Currently the building houses around 600 students, while the first flour floors are occupied by retail and commercial tenants. The new owners announced plans to convert the residential space into 220 high-end rental units totaling around 176,000 square feet of space while keeping the existing property façade and structural system. The redeveloped building will include a state-of-the-art lobby, leasing office, fitness center, theater room, clubroom, interior landscaped courtyard and roof deck. According to the MRP Residential/Principal partnership, construction on the renovation is scheduled to start in late 2014 (after the art institute’s lease expires) with a completion date set for early 2016.


Image courtesy of MRP Residential

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